Chadian soldiers join French and African troops to support Operation Serval in Mali 2301133

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French Armed Forces Operation Serval in Mali

 
 
Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 06:10 PM
 
Chadian soldiers join French and African troops to support Operation Serval in Mali.
A column of Chadian soldiers moved north from Niger’s capital Niamey on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, to join French and African forces battling to free northern Mali from the grip of armed Islamic groups. The Chadian government will eventually deploy a total of 2,000 soldiers to support French and Malian troops fighting against the militant groups in northern Mali, and more soldiers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will eventually join the operation.
     
A column of Chadian soldiers moved north from Niger’s capital Niamey on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, to join French and African forces battling to free northern Mali from the grip of armed Islamic groups. The Chadian government will eventually deploy a total of 2,000 soldiers to support French and Malian troops fighting against the militant groups in northern Mali, and more soldiers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will eventually join the operation.
Chadian soldiers on light jeep. (Archive image)
     

According to the Reuters news agency, Chad’s troops moved along the road to Ouallam, some 100 kilometres from the Malian border, on Tuesday, in order to enter the war zone without first passing through Mali’s capital Bamako.

Their participation has raised hopes of a quick end to the crisis in Mali, where the Chadians’ reputation as warriors precedes them.

The Chadian army has experience fighting in a desert climate, suppressing numerous internal rebellions in an arid environment identical to that of northern Mali. Chad also fought and won a border war with Libya between 1983 and 1987.

Its forces number 30,000 in total and have regularly taken part in stamping out insurgencies in neighbouring countries. The army’s most recent intervention was in December 2012, in support of the Central African Republic’s government against a threat by rebels from a coalition known as Seleka.

The Chadian armed forces could also potentially provide some air power, with six Sukhoi bombers and several Mi-17 and Mi-24 attack helicopters.

The deployment to Niamey was confirmed on Friday, Jan. 18, by a member of the Chadian army, who told Agence France Presse, “Our units left on three aircraft. Their tanks were transported by a C-130, their pickups in an Antonov and the troops flew in a Boeing belonging to the Toumai Air Tchad company.”

     
 

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