The Danish effort in the Sahel region (MINUSMA and Operation Barkhane)
The Danish effort in the Sahel region contributes to the fight against terrorism in order to ensure stability in the region. Since the conflict began in 2012, Denmark has supported this fight with military contributions in Mali and the Sahel region several times. Denmark has contributed together with international partners and through the Peace and Stabilisation fund.
Danish transport aircraft. Photo: Danish Defence.
Denmark has contributed to the UN’s mission in Mali, MINUSMA, since 2014 and has three times provided a C-130J transport aircraft for the mission (2014, 2017 and 2019/2020). In 2016, Danish special operation forces were part of a Dutch Task Group in the Gao region in Mali. The primary tasks consisted of patrol activities, monitoring tasks and area analysis. In 2015-2016 a Danish major general served as force commander for MINUSMA. In 2019-2020, Danish personnel were deployed to Gao in order to gather information for MINUSMA about activities in the area. In addition, Denmark has provided substantial financial support to MINUSMA.
Currently, Denmark contributes with a small number of staff officers to MINUSMA in Mali.
Danish contribution to Operation Barkhane in the Sahel region
Between 2019 and 2020, a Danish helicopter contribution, including approximately 70 persons, was deployed to the French-led Operation Barkhane to support the international effort to counter terrorism in the Sahel region. The Danish helicopter contribution was placed in Gao in the eastern part of Mali where it was carrying out transportation tasks, including transport of troops and equipment.
In May 2021, a proposal made by the Danish government for a contribution of special operations forces to Task Force Takuba in Mali was approved. The Danish forces were deployed in the beginning of 2022 after invitation by the Malian transitional government. However, due to new statements made by the Malian transitional government, the Danish contingent was withdrawn. As of April 2022, the Danish military contribution has been terminated.
The mission of Task Force Takuba was to support, advise and accompany the Malian security forces and strengthen their own capabilities to handle the treat of terror in the vicinity of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
On 24 October 2019, the Danish Parliament adopted motion B6 for a Danish military contribution in support of MINUSMA and motion B7 for a Danish military contribution in support of Operation Barkhane. Furthermore, motion B297 for a Danish military contribution to Task Force Takuba was adopted on 25 May 2021.
MINUSMA was established in 2013, authorized by the UN Security Council (Resolution 2100). The purpose of MINUSMA is among other things to support the implementation of a ceasefire between the government of Mali and the armed groups "Platform" and "Coordination" and to protect civilians. The mission has the authority to use all necessary means (including military means) to carry out its mandate. The current authorisation is for a maximum of 13,289 soldiers and 1,920 policemen. Apart from Denmark, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali has also been supported by other countries, including The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany.
Read more about the MINUSMA mission at UN.org
Background: Operation Barkhane
France has established Operation Barkhane to counter terrorism in the Sahel region. The operation has deployed up to 5000 French troops. Furthermore, the operation has received contributions from other countries, including Great Britain (helicopters), Czech Republic (troops) and Estonia (infantry unit). Operation Barkhane has previously been deployed to Mali. However, due to statements made by the Malian transitional government in 2022 France decided to reorganise the military presence in Sahel by focusing on other countries in the region. Thus, the area of operations covers Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauretania and Niger. In 2013, Denmark provided a transport aircraft to the French-led Operation Serval, which was the forerunner to Operation Barkhane. From 2019 to 2020, Denmark contributed with helicopters to Operation Barkhane.
- Burkina Faso
Period of timeFra 2012