Norway is sending soldiers to Mali as a contribution to the Takuba task force

Soldiers GardermoenPhoto: Terje Pedersen / NTB

The Norwegian government has decided that Norway will contribute to the Takuba task force in Mali and send “a smaller number of soldiers.”

The Norwegian contribution will be included in the Swedish contribution and is scheduled to be in place during the autumn. According to the newspaper VG, Norway has also offered two officers to be part of the Takuba force’s headquarters, the Ministry of Defense stated in a press release on Tuesday night.

Sweden is participating in the operation with a rapid reaction force of about 150 people, plus helicopters and a transport aircraft. 

“The contribution will, even if it is small, give us a better understanding of the situation in the area. It will also strengthen defense cooperation with Sweden. When we send a personnel contribution, it is appropriate that we also contribute with Norwegian staff officers at the headquarters to have the opportunity for insight and influence in the command structure,” Minister of Defense Frank Bakke-Jensen (H) noted.

Last year, Norway said no to France when asked to contribute personnel to the Takuba force due to the lack of support for the move in the Norwegian parliament (Storting). 

The Takuba task force has the aim of strengthening the Malian army’s ability to deal with the growing terrorist threat in the area. The initiative is a result of extremist Islamist groups advancing in Africa and especially in the Sahel belt where Mali is located.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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