17 Jul 2019

Chinook helicopters remain in Mali on French-led operation

Three Chinook helicopters deployed to Mali to tackle extremist groups will remain in the region along with 100 personnel.

UK Chinook helicopters have been in the region since August 2018 as part of an operation to tackle extremist groups including Al-Qa’ida and IS along with French forces. The helicopters have been providing logistical support for French ground forces moving across the Sahel in Niger and Burkina Faso in Operation Barkhane.

The Prime Minister has now announced an extension to the deployment to address poverty and inequality. The UK and French personnel will be setting up embassies, expanding development, and helping with security operations in an attempt to secure long-term stability.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Increasing instability across the Sahel is causing pain and suffering to local communities and posing a real threat to European security.”

“It is right that we extend our commitment to the counter-terror operation in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. By providing essential support to our French partners our Armed Forces are helping to build stability and deny terrorists a haven from which to plan attacks.”

The 18(B) squadron Chinooks have been stationed in Gao in Eastern Mali. French forces have been in Mali since 2014 as part of ongoing anti-terrorism efforts.

The Danish government have also sent to helicopters to assist Operation Barkhane and 50 Estonian troops are operating in the region. The G5 Sahel joint counter-terrorism force created to promote stability includes troops from Mauritania, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali.

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