A fourth rotation of Lithuanian troops are leaving for the UN-led stability operation MINUSMA in Mali on Friday, the Defense Ministry said.
The fourth Force Protection Unit rotation includes 32 professional and volunteer soldiers from the 3rd territorial unit of the National Defense Volunteer Force (NDVF). They will replace their colleagues from the NDVG 1st territorial unit and will serve as part of the German contingent in the area of operation for six months Lithuanian soldiers’ task in the operation is to ensure force security within the military base compound in the province of Gao, in eastern Mali. Another five Lithuanian soldiers serve in the MINUSMA headquarters in Bamako, Timbuktu and Gao. Lithuanian soldiers are not involved in combat actions in Operation MINUSMA, which was launched by the UN in 2013. According to the ministry, MINUSMA is not the only multinational deployment for Lithuanian troops in Mali. Lithuania has also been contributing to the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) since 2013. In total, 41 Lithuanian soldiers are currently serving in the West African country.