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Making History: Franco German Brigade to be deployed in Mali, West Africa.


Due to Al Qaeda activities in Northern Mali, France and Germany have said they will send a joint military Franco-German brigade to this country, in its first deployment to Africa,  a joint statement said on Wednesday.

African Security News.- Franco-German Brigade first time international deployment in Mali.

African Security News.- Franco-German Brigade first time international deployment in Mali.

Mali, which has been recovering from a coup and armed terrorist uprisings, needs to train its soldiers, the statement said after a security and defence meeting in Paris between the two countries.

The mission was launched in February last year and has already trained nearly 3,000 Malian soldiers.

The statement did not specify the number of Franco-German troops involved. But the two sides called for greater investment in helping reorganise and train troops in the west African nation as well as the police and other security forces.

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

The armed groups took control of northern Mali, ruling it under a vision of Islamic law until former colonial ruler France sent in troops to flush them out in January last year.

But the terrorists are regrouping in the desert and remain an ever-present threat to security.

UN peacekeepers took over security in July last year from the Pan-African AFISMA military mission, which had been supporting the French troops.

France is downsizing its military deployment from a peak of around 5,000 soldiers to keep 1,000 troops in Mali beyond the spring 2014.

The Franco-German brigade, which was set up in 1989 to increase military co-operation between the World War Two-era foes, totals about 4,800 troops based in both countries.

The brigade is highly symbolic in nature as it is difficult for both countries to jointly deploy soldiers to hotspots, given the different rules of engagement that govern each army.

Soldiers from the brigade have nevertheless been sent to Afghanistan and Kosovo in the past.