The UK Government will send 250 personnel to Mali next year to support the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operation.

The deployment of the British Armed Forces is in response to growing instability in the Sahel region of North Africa and will seek to contribute to the UN mission to achieve long-term and sustainable peace in Mali.

To be based in Gao in eastern Mali, troops will address a capability gap for the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

Troops will initially support the mission for a period of three years as part of an international contingent comprising 12,500 personnel.

Personnel will work in coordination with forces from over 30 nations to provide a long-range reconnaissance capability.

According to the UK Ministry of Defence, the British deployment is aimed at preventing ‘conflict spilling over to neighbouring states’.

UK Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “In one of the world’s poorest and most fragile regions, it is right that we support some of the world’s most vulnerable people and prioritise our humanitarian and security efforts in the Sahel.

“UK service personnel will work with our partners in the region to help promote peace by combating the threat of violent extremism and protecting human rights in Mali.”

Recently, the UK Government approved the extension of the deployment of three Royal Air Force (Raf) Chinooks and accompanying personnel by six months.

The Chinook helicopters and troops are supporting a French-led counter-terrorism operation in Mali.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Commonwealth and UN Minister Tariq Ahmad said: “UN peacekeeping is one of the security council’s most visible and important ways to respond to conflict, and we are proud of the contribution UK personnel make to this global effort.”