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Sri Lanka Army Prepares for UN peacekeeping in Mali

Published Nov 11, 2019
Updated Feb 06, 2020

The next batch of the Mali-bound Combat Convoy Company (CCC) of the Sri Lanka Army is preparing to leave for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) reports Colombo Page.

The new contingent of 243 Army personnel of the Sri Lanka Army presented a formal military salute to the Commander of the Army, Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva at the Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment (VIR) Headquarters at Boyagane on 06 November.

The Sri Lankan CCC of 20 Officers and 223 Other Ranks representing 13 Regiments of the Army, is scheduled to depart for the landlocked West African country by 15 November.

The first group of 43 peacekeepers will leave on 12 November and the remainder of 200 personnel are set to depart on 13 November. The Sri Lankan CCC of 196 members already serving in Mali meanwhile is expected to return home on 14 November

The Sri Lankan blue helmets are part of the 1st combat convoy company (CCC) based in Gao, and one of two convoy protection groups of the UN mission in Mali known as MINUSMA.

At present, 196 Sri Lankan troops make up the 1st CCC and are supported by officers stationed in key cities. The 2nd CCC has Egyptian troops. The 1st CCC is equipped with 18 wheeled APCs,18 trucks (on which the UN carries 20-foot containers filled with supplies) and two armoured ambulances.

On average, they run two convoys a month, one each to Mopti in the South and to Tessalit, North, near the Algerian border. The threat landscape in Mali has changed significantly since 2016.

The Sri Lankan contingent, originally numbering 200, was deemed inadequate early last year. They were due to rotate out of Mali in late December 2018. However, delays in the vetting process that clears Sri Lankan personnel for peacekeeping duties meant this didn’t happen.