UN: German peacekeepers to use surveillance drones in Mali

New York, US (PANA) - German peacekeepers deployed to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) will use surveillance drones, known as "Heron 1" to support their operations in Mali, PANA has learnt.

A source at the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, told PANA in New York on Thursday that the unmanned aerial vehicles will cover the initial 15-month deployment of German troops to Mali, which begins in November.

The "Heron 1" drone has been successfully used in more than 2,300 missions over Afghanistan, according to the source. It is a medium-altitude long endurance aerial vehicle, with a maximum speed of 130 miles (about 210 kilometres) per hour.

Mali has been the site of conflict for the past four years, since violence erupted in 2012, and most of the north, including the historic city of Timbuktu was occupied by Tuareg separatists and extremists.

In 2013, a French-led military offensive drove back the Islamists, but Mali has remained unstable ever since. Malian authorities and UN peacekeepers have been battling with an increase in terrorism and insecurity in the northern region.

MINUSMA was established by UN Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political processes in Mali and carry out a number of security-related tasks. It also supported the transitional authorities of Mali in the stabilization of the country and implementation of the transitional roadmap.

PANA recalled that last month, the Security Council adopted resolution 2295 (2016), under which it extended the mission's mandate for one year until 30 June 2017.

The Council said the situation in Mali continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security, and to cope with the situation, it also increased the force levels of MINUSMA up to a ceiling of 13,289 military personnel and 1,920 police personnel.

UN peacekeepers in Mali have been experiencing deadly attacks, with fatalities cutting across the various troops-contributing countries operating in northern Mali.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR 21July2016

21 july 2016 19:35:37

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