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THE Government is to send 40 of our armed forces to train the Mali army and several hundred support personnel stationed in neighbouring countries to protect and maintain two C47 transport planes, also two Sentinel obsevation aircraft.
Consider these facts. For many years, America has spent more than $500 million training and equiping armies in this part of Africa, against terrorism. Mali was one of the countries involved.
Mali’s army consists of about 7,000 men and women. During the early part of this conflict it is known that about 1,600 troops deserted when the going got tough.
Their opponents were mainly hardened fighters who had recently returned from the Libya – another example of unanticipated consequences when assisting the downfall of a non-democratic country.
Incidentally, Mali was a military dictatorship and probably still is.
Army experts have said it will take years to train Mali’s army. The Prime Minister needs to think long and hard before sinking deeper into the quagmire of North African affairs.
Do not send any more military personnel in connection with Mali and bring those already there home as soon as possible.
J Beisly, Osprey Close, York.