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British Long Range Reconnaissance Contingent, Conduct First Patrol In Mali

The British Recce group in Mali have carried out a 150 km patrol across the desert, east of Gao

British long-range reconnaissance group on second rotation peacekeeping deployment in Mali has conducted its first patrol in the country. 

The contingent covered over 150 kilometres during the range patrol across the desert east of Mali’s Mao region. 

According to a Twitter post by Lieutenant Colonel Will Meddings on July 2, Last week, the Long Range Reconnaissance Group returned from its first patrol, working as part of UNMINUSMA’s (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali) Mobile Task Force.

Lieutenant Colonel Will Meddings, the Commanding Officer of the long-range recce group and 2nd Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment, took over in June after completing the British first rotation and six months deployment to MINUSMA, led by the Light Dragoons, which began in Dec. 2020. 

The Light Dragoon-led task group was replaced by a contingent led by the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Anglian Regiment. Personnel were drawn from the Queen’s Dragoon Guards and other units from across the British armed forces.

“Part of the patrol was test-firing weapons. From machine guns to grenade launchers to anti-tank rockets, the Task Group is one of the most heavily armed units in UN MINUSMA,” said Meddings.

He added that “But it’s also much more than that. It’s a tool to protect civilians and listen to their concerns. That means getting out, meeting people and even playing a quick game of noughts and crosses in the sand.”

Meddings stated that the tour was about people, not just weapons, highlighting that it means meeting Malians in towns and meeting the nomads who travel across the country with their herds.

During the patrol, the contingent was reported to have moved out of the desert and onto the major roads, protecting traffic from criminals and illegal armed groups. 

The British Long Range Reconnaissance Group comprises specialists from across the Army, including infantry and reconnaissance soldiers, drone operators, electronic warfare teams and a high-tech surgical team.

In Dec., troops from the Light Dragoons and Royal Anglian Regiment arrived in Mali as the first rotation of soldiers to take part in the UN mission in the country.

Their role involved providing specialist long-range surveillance for the United Nations mission and gathering intelligence 

In April 2013, the United Nations Security Council replaced the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) with the UN MINUSMA.


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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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