France, Germany to send parts of joint brigade to Mali

19th February 2014, Comments 0 comments

France and Germany will send parts of a joint military brigade to Mali in its first deployment to Africa, a statement said Wednesday.

"France and Germany have decided to send elements of the Franco-German Brigade to Mali: the first deployment under the aegis of the EU and in an African location," a joint statement said after a security and defence meeting in Paris between the two countries.

It said the troops sent would integrate into a European mission in Mali to train soldiers. The mission was launched in February last year and has already trained nearly 3,000 Malian forces.

The statement did not specify the number of troops involved.

The Franco-German brigade, which was set up in 1989 to increase military cooperation between the World War II-era foes, comprises some 4,800 troops based in both countries.

Mali was thrown into chaos in 2012 when Tuareg separatist rebels launched an offensive in the northern desert helped by Islamist militants linked to Al-Qaeda, after the country's president was toppled in a coup.

The Islamists were driven out after nine months by a French-led military intervention launched in January 2013. But they are regrouping in the desert and remain an ever-present threat to security.

© 2014 AFP

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