Sweden to send troops to Mali in special forces plan

2020-03-16 20:15
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The Swedish government plans to send up to 150 soldiers to Mali to support a French military initiative combining special force troops from different countries.

"The government has decided to put a bill to parliament... for Swedish participation" in the joint unit, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

The French initiative, named Operation Takuba, aims to get military special forces from several countries accompanying Malian troops into combat.

The large, mainly desert West African nation ended a jihadist occupation of key northern towns in 2013 with French help, but the Islamist extremists remain highly active and have moved farther south.

"Swedish aid should consist of a helicopter-borne rapid reaction force of a maximum 150 men," the ministry stated.

The Swedish government proposal is expected to win majority approval in parliament.

A French anti-insurgency operation in the conflict-wracked Sahel region, Operation Barkhane, is being extended to make way for the European force, Operation Takuba.

France has 4 500 soldiers deployed in five Sahel nations.

Paris hopes to get a larger number of European countries involved to provide logistical support with helicopters and transport planes as well as ground troops.

Read more on:    sweden  |  mali  |  west africa
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