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EU Special Ops to Deploy in Mali Anti-Terror Fight

EU Special Ops to Deploy in Mali Anti-Terror Fight

Monday, 13 July, 2020 - 08:30
French soldiers patrol a village in northern Burkina Faso. AFP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat

A joint EU special ops force formed to back Mali's fight against militant groups will deploy in the West African country on Wednesday, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said.

Around 100 French and Estonian troops will initially make up the force dubbed Takuba, Parly told the online version of the daily La Croix on Sunday.

A second contingent of around 60 Czech soldiers will deploy in October, to be followed by some 150 Swedish troops in January 2021, Parly said.

"Italy has just indicated its wish to join us," she added.

Extremist and inter-ethnic violence in Mali and neighboring Niger and Burkina Faso killed at least 4,000 people in 2019, according to the United Nations.

The entire Sahel region is seeing ever more brazen attacks by militant groups despite the beefing up of national armies and the deployment of 5,100 French anti-terrorism troops.

As extremist forces have weakened, however, they have increasingly resorted to the recruitment of minors, AFP quoted Parly as saying.

"Despite all precautions taken, some (child soldiers) can be wounded or killed during fighting," she warned.

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