With terrorist groups testing their strength across northern and western Africa, the United States is joining with Mali and its neighbors to help secure their borders and achieve peace and security throughout the region.
In a ceremony in the capital Bamako on October 20, U.S. Ambassador Gillian Milovanovic presented the Malian defense ministry with 37 new tactical vehicles, communications equipment and other support totaling approximately $5 million. The equipment will allow security forces to move, transport and communicate across wide expanses of open desert where armed terrorists linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb operate.
Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for several brutal acts in the past year, including the murder of a British citizen in May, and the killing of 28 Malian soldiers in July. Deadly attacks and kidnappings have occurred in Niger and Mauritania as well.
Underscoring the gravity of the situation, the leaders of Mali and 3 other Sahelian nations – Algeria, Niger and Mauritania – are planning to meet in the weeks ahead to coordinate their efforts against the terrorists. Mali's government has taken a firm stand against these groups that threaten peace and stability both within its borders and across the region, and the U.S. supports the growing regional effort to combat this truly regional threat.