Denmark to escalate military presence in Sahel Region

Danes aiming to deploy troops and choppers to troubled area in Africa

The government is on the brink of stepping up its military contribution to a French-led international operation in the embattled Sahel Region in Africa.

Parliament will decide whether Denmark will deploy upwards of about 70 military personnel and two transport helicopters for a 12-month period at the end of 2019.

“It’s paramount to Danish and European security that we contribute to the stabilisation of the area. The terror groups in the Sahel Region are a threat to our mutual security, so we are teaming up with France to beat them back,” said the foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen.

Samuelsen went on to say that he hoped the effort would also prove a useful tool in curbing and preventing irregular migration towards Europe.

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Serval’s successor
The French-led operation, named Barkhane, consists of 4,500 French troops and also includes contributions from the UK and Estonia.

The Sahel Region covers vast swaths of land in the countries of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

In 2013, Denmark contributed to the French-led operation Serval, but this will be the first time that the Danes will have deployed soldiers and equipment to assist in Operation Barkhane. Denmark has also dedicated military staff and material to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA.