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Benin to increase its troops in Mali from 300 to 650

APA

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“President Boni Yayi instructed us to reinforce the 300-strong previous contingent with 350 additional soldiers”, Benin’s Army Chief of Staff, Admiral Denis Gbessemehlan was quoted by Maghreb Press Agency (MAP) as saying.

“We are not operating under the Togolese battalion any longer as previously scheduled. We are rather operating under our own command,” he added.

A 50-soldier unit has already left Cotonou for Bamako between Friday and Saturday.

Seven West African countries including Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Niger, Guinea and Burkina Faso, as well as Chad, have pledged their contribution in the military efforts to deal with the Islamist militants in northern Mali.

Some 5,800 soldiers are expected to complement France’s efforts towards restoring state authority in the northern part of the crisis-plagued West African country.

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