Mali conflict: British soldiers to train armed forces

Malian troops boarding a French military transport plane French and Malian forces having been fighting Islamist rebels in the north of the country

British soldiers will be deployed to Mali for up to 15 months to carry out infantry and artillery training, the government has announced.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said the UK would contribute 40 personnel to a EU training mission due to start in the spring.

This is in support of Malian troops fighting Islamist extremists in the west African country.

Ministers have stressed that UK forces will not be involved in a combat role.

Twenty-one soldiers from 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment will do the infantry training and 12 personnel will carry out mortar and artillery training.

Military protection

Four UK personnel will be headquarters-based and three civilians from the Foreign Office's Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative will provide human rights and gender awareness training.

Six infantry trainers from the Republic of Ireland will add to the team.

Mr Hammond said: "We welcome the Irish contribution which will help develop further working relations between our two countries."

Troops from France and the Czech Republic will provide military protection for the training team.

The UK has also offered up to 200 personnel to train troops from neighbouring African countries which are preparing send a military stabilisation force to Mali.

France intervened in Mali last month to help its army oust Islamist militants in the north of the country.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ReadingBest books

    BBC Culture takes a look at ten books you should read in February


  • A car being driven by Cruise Automation technologyClick Watch

    The tech which could allow any car with an automatic gearbox to become self-driving

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.