From the Ministry of Defence. I think the jihad in Africa, be it the east coast (Kenya and Mozambique) or the Sahara south into Nigeria and beyond which incursions will meet in the Republics of the Congo where the ground is already being prepared is going to be quite a problem for the next few years.
UK troops deployed to Mali as part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission have seized a cache of weapons hidden by suspected Daesh terrorists who had been threatening local communities. 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. The extremists had been intimidating local communities, extorting money and assaulting people who refused to comply with their demands, meaning UK forces were able to respond to protect them under the UN’s peacekeeping mandate.
The UK Task Group provides the UN with a highly specialised long-range reconnaissance capability, conducting patrols in remote areas, gathering intelligence and engaging with the local population to help the UN understand and respond to threats and fulfil its mandate to protect civilians.
Acting on 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.
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. The weapons and intelligence collected were then passed to the UN Mine Action Service, UN Police, and Malian authorities, who will use the information gathered and then destroy the materials.
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.
Swedish Colonel Markus Hook, Commanding Officer of the UN Mission’s Mobile Task Force, of which the UK troops are a part, said:
This Cordon and Search Operation was the first of its kind in a long period of time for MINUSMA. (UN mission to Mali)
It was based on information which suggested that a specific location within a village was being used for weapon storage by non-compliant armed groups which were harassing the local population.