850 Nigerien soldiers to be deployed in Mali

A total of 850 Nigerien soldiers will soon be deployed to Mali under the auspices of the United Nations Integrated Mission for Stabilization of Mali (MINUSMA), according to defense officials in the West African country.
They will replace the first contingent sent to Mali since January under the umbrella of the African mission of MISMA, the defense sources disclosed on Thursday.
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Niger had deployed a contingent of 680 soldiers under the International Support Mission for Mali (MISMA) to fight against the terrorist groups in northern Mali and help restore the country’s territorial integrity.
The new contingent comprising both male and female officers has undergone 10-week intense training at Ouallam, 100 km north of Niamey, on peacekeeping operations in accordance with the requirements of the UN.
The training program was conducted by a coalition of Nigerien, American and French trainers.
The closing ceremony for the training was held on Thursday and presided over by Niger’s Defense Minister Karidjo Mahamadou in the presence of US and France ambassadors to Niger and senior Nigerien military officers.
Addressing the soldiers, Niger’s defense minister reminded them that the UN’s blue helmets that they will soon be wearing once they arrive on the ground will make them peace soldiers, who should fight against terror and reject the reign of violence, while respecting human rights.
Niger and Mali share a border of more than 400 km, with many of citizens in both countries speaking the languages such as Tamajek and Songhoi.


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