A contingent of some 90 Danish soldiers has arrived in Mali to join European special forces supporting the country’s anti-jihadist operations, Denmark’s military said Tuesday.
The contingent, whose deployment was announced in April, is stationed in Menaka in eastern Mali. Its mandate runs until early 2023.
“The aim is to stabilize Mali and parts of the Liptako-Gourma tri-border area between Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso and to ensure the protection of civilians against terrorist groups,” the armed forces said in a statement.
Denmark has previously sent troops to participate in military interventions in Mali, some with the UN’s MINUSMA peacekeeping force and others with the French-led Operation Barkhane.
The new contingent is joining Task Force Takuba — a 900-troop French-led unit launched in March 2020.
Other contributors are the Netherlands, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Italy, and Hungary.
European countries have raised concern over the deployment of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group on Malian soil and Mali’s delayed return to civilian rule after a military coup in August 2020.