Africa: Security

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 11th June 2021.

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Photo of Mark Pritchard Mark Pritchard Conservative, The Wrekin

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to support the armed forces of (a) Mali, (b) Chad, (c) Mauritania, (d) Niger and (e) Burkina Faso in preventing attacks by militants.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The UK provides a range of support for partner forces in the Sahel, focused on increasing their capacity and resilience, and preventing conflict, violent extremism and instability across the region.

In Mali, we have provided assistance through the funding of a small number of professional development courses for Malian personnel. However, following the coup in June 2021, we have adjusted this limited support to focus on broader stabilisation programmes such as reducing community-level violence, improving the conditions for political settlement, enhancing the understanding of International Humanitarian Law and improving the effectiveness of stabilisation efforts.

In Chad, the UK’s capacity building programme is delivered through the Multi National Joint Task Force, supporting operations against violent extremists in the Lake Chad Basin. The programme is primarily designed to tackle the threat from Improved Explosive Devices, but also provides training on operational planning and strategic communications.

The UK is not currently providing assistance to the Mauritanian armed forces, but has previously worked with them on maritime security, specifically improving their capability to protect their Exclusive Economic Zone.

In Niger and Burkina Faso, we have supported places on a small number of professional development courses. We have also helped the regional counter terrorism force, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, to improve its strategic communications capacity as a way of building trust with local populations.

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