UK to provide 40 staff for EU training mission in Mali

The UK will contribute 40 people to the European Union Training Mission in Mali the Defence Secretary has announced.

An infantry training team and mortar and artillery training team will deploy to Mali to work with Malian armed forces currently fighting violent extremists in the African country.

French troops aboard a tank are greeted by Malians as they arrived in Timbuktu in January. Credit: REUTERS/Arnaud Roine/ECPAD/Handout

TheUK will notprovide troops in a combat role or force protection for the mission – that rolewill be carried out by French and Czech personnel.

The UK will provide headquarters staff and three civilians under the FCO’s Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative to provide human rights and gender awareness training within the mission.

There will be 21 troops from 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment to carry out infantry training, 12 personnel to carry out mortar and artillery training, four UK personnel in the headquarters and 3 civilians in the human rights and gender team. Ireland will contribute six infantry training personnel.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “British personnel will play an important role in the EU Training Mission, enabling the Malian authorities to restore order and deny a safe haven to terrorists.

“This mission is a further demonstration of our commitment to tackle violent extremism and the threat that it poses to our national interests.”