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Libyan Newswire

UK begins troop deployment to South Sudan, Somalia

Iran Press TV

Iran Press TV

Mon May 2, 2016 7:36AM

A team of UK Army soldiers has arrived in Somalia as part of Britain’s plans to deploy hundreds of troops in several African countries, following a pledge by Prime Minister David Cameron.

The advance party of 10 soldiers will reportedly support African Union peacekeeping efforts against the al-Shabab militant group in the Horn of Africa state.

Announcing the arrival of the team in Somalia, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon described the deployment as “another demonstration of the flexibility and global reach of our armed forces.”

The group will later be joined by some 60 more soldiers tasked with medical, logistical and engineering duties.

The African country has been the scene of clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants since 2006.

The African Union Mission has deployed about 22,000 peacekeepers from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia to help Somali government forces stabilize the country.

London is also planning to send around 300 troops to South Sudan, where thousands of people have been killed as a result of a bloody civil war since December 2013.

South Sudan is the youngest African country that broke away from Sudan in 2011. British forces there will reportedly carry out engineering work to strengthen infrastructure.

Cameron announced the British deployment in a UN event in late September, arguing that bringing stability to both countries could help ease the migration crisis that is seeing hundreds of thousands of migrants flooding the European borders.

“If we can, as peacekeepers, help to maintain order and peace and see stable development in that country then that’s going to be again less poverty, less migration, less issues that affect us back at home,” the premier then said.

The new deployments came amid strong reports suggesting that some 1,000 British Special Forces have been deployed in Libya to take back control of Daesh-held oil assets in the country.

London denied the report, but Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond did not rule out the possibility of using military force in Libya upon a request by legitimate authorities.

Libya has been in turmoil since the downfall of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

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