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Mali - Operation Newcombe

MINUSMA is the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation mission in Mali. Established in 2013, the mission was asked to support the transitional authorities of Mali in the stabilisation of the country. Op Newcombe is the UK commitment to that mission.  

Our purpose

Following the end of the UK’s deployment to the UN peacekeeping operation in South Sudan, the National Security Council agreed to deploy a UK Task Group to support the UN mission in Mali. Their role will be to conduct long-range reconnaissance patrols to gather intelligence to help the UN better understand how to help the people of Mali.

This operation is separate from the deployment of three Chinook helicopters by the Royal Air Force in support of French operations.

The Light Dragoons and the Royal Anglians form the basis of the new task group comprising soldiers from across defence with a wide array of skills, from bomb disposal experts to drone operators and a state-of-the-art medical team.

In December 2020 the Task Group deployed to Gao as the first rotation of soldiers to take part in the UN mission.

Op Newcombe has now ended.

UN peacekeeping operations support local political efforts to build sustainable long-term peace in the countries where they are deployed. Peacekeepers protect civilian populations, support political dialogue and reconciliation, prevent and reduce conflict, as well as promote and protect human rights.

Combat is not the objective of the deployment. The Long Range Reconnaissance Group will perform a crucial role within the UN mission. Conducting reconnaissance and patrol tasks, launched from the UN camp in Gao, to gather intelligence and engage with the local Malian people.

Information gathered will help improve the UN Mission Commander’s understanding of the situation on the ground and enable the mission to respond to threats to the people of Mali more effectively.

This is a peacekeeping operation, rather than a combat or counter-terrorism operation.


The Sahel is one of Africa’s poorest and most fragile regions. Marked by chronic poverty, instability and high levels of gender inequality, it is very vulnerable to violence and conflict from extremist and criminal organisations.

Mali is at the forefront of countries in Africa affected by instability. With terrorist violence and conflict between communities sharply on the rise, it is costing civilians their lives and preventing the development of one of the poorest countries in the world.

The UN mission has been operating in Mali for seven years, working towards a peaceful and prosperous future. The capability the British Army brings will both enhance the mission and strengthen our international military alliances and partnerships.

It is in all of our interests to work together to protect civilians and help build a safer, healthier and more prosperous future for the people of the region.

By helping to stabilise fragile states and tackle the root cause of conflict we help to secure people’s basic rights, as well as preventing conflicts growing beyond boundaries and causing instability in other countries.

Light Dragoons Prepare to deploy to Mali


Jackal 2

Rapid Jackal 2 is a high mobility weapons platform, with a unique air-bag suspension system allowing rapid movement across varying terrain

Reconnaissance vehicles

Coyote TSV

6x6 Extra two wheels gives a heavier vehicle, which can act in support of the Jackal 2 to transport supplies and equipment over similar terrain

Reconnaissance vehicles


112 kph Foxhound has a top speed of 112 kph but can still protect against improvised explosive devices thanks to its v-shaped hull.

Protected patrol vehicles

Desert Hawk

'over the hill' view Desert Hawk is an extremely versatile and small Unmanned Aerial System designed for discrete operations

Artillery and air defence