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Swedish troops land in Mali

Published fredag 16 januari 2015 kl 13.00
Franska soldater hälsas välkomna i Timbuktu i norra Mali. Foto: French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD), Arnaud Roine/Scanpix
Swedish troops will join the UN forces in Timbuktu today. Photo: Arnaud Roine/Scanpix

Today the first of the 120 Swedish troops land in Mali to join the UN's peacekeeping operation Minusma, Swedish Television reports. 

This is the first time in ten years that Sweden is directly contributing troops to a UN mission. The last time was to Liberia in 2004.

This time, the troops' main mission is to protect civilians around the city of Timbuktu.

In the past year-and-a-half, 33 UN soldiers have been killed in Mali, and Magdalena Tham analyst at the Swedish Defence Research Agency, FOI, says to SVT that the Swedish soldiers will be stationed in a conflict-ridden area where the attacks against UN forces have increased lately.

However, Magdalena Tham also claims Swedish soldiers are better equipped and protected than many of those who have been killed.

"Many of those killed have been from other West-African countries and have had poor equipment. Swedish troops will have access to better vehicles and better equipment, and would most likely not have been killed given the same circumstances", she says.

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