Britain's RAF joins Mali campaign

2013-01-13 16:20

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London - The first of two British military transport planes pledged by the government to assist French troops in Mali is is set to leave on Sunday, the ministry of defence said.

Prime Minister David Cameron agreed in a phone call with French President Francois Hollande on Saturday to provide the planes for logistical support, although Britain will not deploy any personnel in a combat role.

The Royal Air Force C-17 jet transport plane based at the RAF Brize Norton base in Oxfordshire, central England, is due to fly to France first to pick up equipment before flying to Mali, possibly on Monday.

"It is likely that the first aircraft will leave the UK today," a Ministry of Defence spokesperson told AFP.

"It will go to France first, obviously this will need to be loaded with French assets and that will take time, it depends on what needs to be loaded."

Military sources said it would take about 10 hours to fly from France to Mali.

France sent its air force on Friday to help Malian troops hold back an Islamist rebel advance towards the capital Bamako in the former French colony.

Read more on:    raf  |  david cameron  |  mali  |  west africa

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