Army Chief eyes bigger deployment in Mali



Army Chief Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake has said that he looked forward to deploying a Brigade in Mali, where Sri Lankan combat troops are currently stationed.

Units from several countries have been assigned to the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali, known by its French acronym, MINUSMA.

Lt. Gen. Senanayake said the SLA had the strength to undertake responsibilities at the international level. The Army Commander was addressing Mali-bound Combat Convoy Company (CCC) comprising Sri Lanka Light Infantry (SLLI) troops at the SLLI Regimental Headquarters, Panagoda.

A brigade consists of three battalions.Landlocked Mali is a West African state, where the UN has been struggling to maintain peace since 2013. Over 130 UN personnel had been killed in attacks carried out by heavily armed groups, some of whom are linked to Al Qaeda

Lt. Gen. Senanayake yesterday told The Island that main body of Sri Lankan troops would be leaving the country on Dec 24.

"Our primary task will be to ensure protection of convoys," Lt. Gen. Senanayake said, adding that his officers and men would undergo an orientation programme before taking on the challenging task. (SF)

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