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Denmark plans to support anti-jihadist force in Sahel

Denmark plans to support anti-jihadist force in Sahel

Denmark announced its support to France in its fighting against jihadists in the Sahel, The Local Denmark reported. 

The Danish government announced it plans to send some troops to Africa to help support the French operation combatting Muslim radical groups in the Sahel. In addition to 70 soldiers, Denmark is going to send two transport helicopters for a one-year period to the region starting at the end of this year. In 2012, a NATO member Denmark has already contributed to previous anti-jihadist operations in Mali.

According to Defence Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen, such cooperation will strength EU efforts to stabilize a region. The Cabinet’s plans should be approved by parliament next week. Denmark’s foreign minister Anders Samuelsen said that the jihadist groups in the Sahel represent a threat to European security.

“It is crucial for the security of Denmark and Europe that we contribute to the stability in the region,” he added.

Also the government with its restrictive migration policy “hopes at the same time to stem the influx of refugees” to Europe. But large stretches of the landlocked African state remain out of government control.

The Danish support is crucial for France, that since 2014 has maintained the so-called Barkhane force of 4,500 troops to fight the jihadist groups in Mali and the Sahel region. Most of the violence is centred in Mali’s central and southern regions but it has also spread across its borders, affecting neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger. The joint efforts of both NATO members should keep the region stable, the military experts believe.