EU to train Mali army from April

2013-03-05 16:16
Malian troops patrol in the Adrar of the Ifoghas mountains. (Ghislain Mariette, AFP/Ecpad)

Malian troops patrol in the Adrar of the Ifoghas mountains. (Ghislain Mariette, AFP/Ecpad)

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Brussels - European Union soldiers are on track to start training Malian troops on 2 April, with the first schooled battalion expected to be ready for the field in July, the commander of the EU training mission said on Tuesday.

"There is a considerable need," French General Francois Lecointre said during a visit to Brussels. "This army has to be completely restructured."

About half of the Malian army - some 3 000 soldiers - are due to be instructed during the 15-month EU mission, which will involve the deployment of up to 550 European troops to train, protect and assist.

Lecointre called on EU countries to also give military equipment, with weapons, vehicles and communication means among Mali's most pressing needs. He said investing in Mali is, among other things, a way to honour the sacrifice of three French soldiers who died there.

- SAPA
Read more on:    eu  |  mali  |  france  |  west africa
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