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Protection of civilians: MINUSMA receives reinforcement from the Armed Forces of the United Kingdom in Gao

Last December, a first contingent of the armed forces of the United Kingdom arrived in Mali to support and strengthen the contribution of MINUSMA to the protection of civilians in the Gao region. As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, the UK has committed to a three-year deployment under MINUSMA, joining the other 59 nations already contributing to the UN Mission.

The British Battle Group is comprised by 250 soldiers (including 16 women) of infantry, light cavalry troops, explosives experts, remotely piloted air systems pilots and medical personnel. This contribution to the MINUSMA Force provides it with additional capacities to strengthen its efforts to protect civilians in the region. After its installation in the Sector East (Gao), following compliance with a quarantine period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the contingent has now begun its operations on the ground.

Deployment within the framework of MINUSMA is not without risk. World-class British forces have undergone specialized high human security preparation and training to help "recognize, respond, return and report" problems during patrols and succeed in Mali's complex operating environment. “We have been training hard over the past year to make sure we are ready for this mission in support of the Malian populations”, said Lieutenant-Colonel Tom ROBINSON, British Commander, who specifies: “as a MINUSMA contingent, we are increasing the number of patrols in the Gao region. These patrols aim to support the Malian Defense and Security Forces in the region and increase the presence of security forces to protect the local populations. We are also working with the civilian pillars of the United Nations to support the return of the State authorities in Gao region”. "We are proud to be the first British soldiers to join this team effort to help combat instability in the Sahel", he concludes. The British contingent is also equipped with a fleet of vehicles armed with state-of-the-art technology, all of which have been tested on mission before.

Captain Aaron Rennie, Field Surgical Capability, looks forward to “… working alongside and learning from our partners and allies, supporting stabilization efforts and helping build a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for the region”.