British troops seize hidden weapons cache from ISIS-linked militants in Mali

About 100 UK soldiers involved in operation to halt terror group's spread

British peacekeepers pose with an AK47 rifle found in an operation against ISIS-linked militants operating in Mali. Ministry of Defence
British peacekeepers pose with an AK47 rifle found in an operation against ISIS-linked militants operating in Mali. Ministry of Defence

British troops operating in Mali have seized AK47 rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition hidden by ISIS-linked terrorists.

The "cordon and search" operation was launched in early May at the border near Niger after extremists in the area had intimidated local people.

About 100 soldiers from the Light Dragoons and Royal Anglian Regiment overcame challenging conditions including temperatures of up to 50°C and a sandstorm during the operation, which was supported by a specialist Royal Engineer search team.

Their find included AK47 rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, camouflage, mobile phones and hundreds of litres of fuel.

Fighters from ISIS-affiliated group Islamic State in the Greater Sahel fled across the Niger river before the peacekeepers arrived to the scene.

The haul was destroyed by the UN Mine Action Service, UN Police and Malian authorities.

The UK's Ministry of Defence said it was the first such seizure since its soldiers arrived in the region in December to stop attacks on local civilians.

About 300 British troops are operating in the West African country as part of a UN-mission which includes over 13,000 peacekeepers from 56 different countries. Nearly 250 UN soldiers have lost their lives there since 2013.

Lt Col Tom Robinson, Commanding Officer of the Light Dragoons, said: "This operation is a tangible example of how UK soldiers, as part of the UN Force, are making a real difference to protect the people of Mali who are living in one of the most vulnerable regions in the world."

Updated: May 15, 2021 03:17 PM

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