Finding Daesh weapons in Mali
British peacekeepers currently deployed to Mali recently seized AK47s, ammunition, fuel and radios hidden by a suspected jihadist cell that were intimidating civilians
In a recent patrol, the British peacekeepers deployed to Mali seized a cache of weapons hidden by suspected Daesh terrorists who had been threatening local communities.
The operation was the first of its kind by UN forces in Mali and acts as a reminder of the importance of the British Army out in the region.
- Operation NEWCOMBE Explained: Peacekeeping in Mali
- Tackling tough terrain
- Taking over command of the UK’s Long Range Reconnaissance Group in Mali
The British force launched the Mission-approved “cordon and search” operation in early May in a village close to the border with Niger, after receiving intelligence about violent extremists operating in the area.
A 300-strong UK Task Force are currently deployed out to Mali on the UN Peacekeeping Mission, known as MINUSMA.
The extremists had been intimidating local communities, extorting money and assaulting people who refused to comply with their demands.
“This operation is a tangible example of how UK soldiers, as part of the UN Force, are making a real difference to protect the people of Mali who are living in one of the most vulnerable regions in the world.”
— Lieutenant Colonel Robinson, the former Commanding Officer of the Long Range Recconaisance Group (Mali)
Acting on the information they had gathered, around 100 soldiers from the Light Dragoons and Royal Anglian Regiment, supported by a specialist Royal Engineer search team, were cleared by UN HQ to move into the village and search several buildings of interest.
The operation took place during incredibly challenging conditions, including a sandstorm that reduced visibility to 30m, over 50C heat and soldiers carrying up to 45kg of equipment.
Upon searching the area, they found a hidden cache of terrorist material, including AK47 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, along with camouflage clothing, radios, mobile phones and hundreds of litres of fuel.
A cell of suspected fighters from Daesh-affiliated group Islamic State in the Greater Sahel (ISGS) fled by swimming across the River Niger before the peacekeepers arrived, leaving behind what they would consider valuable resources.
The British Army continue to provide an invaluable contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali.