British Troops Start Missions in Mali amid Islamist Insurgency

British troops sent to Mali as part of an international force facing an Islamist insurgency have started carrying out missions
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British troops sent to Mali as part of an international force facing an Islamist insurgency have started carrying out missions in an area which has seen extensive jihadist violence and had come under attack recent attacks.

Around 200 troops and 60 armoured cars took part in their first reconnaissance and intelligence gathering patrol in a conflict which has drawn in al-Qaeda and Isis against a background of political turbulence in the country following a military coup.

The 300 British troops, part of a UN peacekeeping force, are operating under a Chinese senior officer in the local chain of command at Gao, in the east of the country. Beijing started sending troops to Mali two years ago to join the UN Minusma mission : it currently has a contingent of around 430 include combat troops guarding the multinational force and also staffing a hospital at the headquarters.

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