Norfolk troops kill terrorists in Mali after coming under attack
- Credit: Garry Fox
Norfolk-based soldiers have shot dead jihadists after coming under attack during a mission in Africa.
Troops from 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards, based at Robertson Barracks in Swanton Morley, near Dereham, killed two terrorist fighters in a remote part of Mali on Wednesday (October 20).
They are believed to have belonged to Isis, which has been causing severe instability in the country.
Wednesday's incident was the first time UK soldiers have been targeted in Mali, where a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission known as MINUSMA is being carried out.
It is, in fact, also the first time troops have killed or come under fire from hostile forces since combat operations in Afghanistan in 2014.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) confirmed there were no UK or UN casualties.
Minister for the armed forces, James Heapey, said: "This is an important reminder that, as we broaden the focus of defence to state-based threats in new domains like cyber and space, we still rely on our Armed Forces to apply lethal forces in close contact with our enemies."
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"No matter how much technology we invest in, it all comes to naught without the bravery and determination of our armed forces."
The Dragoons regiment is currently deployed in Mali on Operation MAKARA 3, aimed at deterring and disrupting terrorist groups in the area of Ménaka, a region in the east of the country.
Soldiers had been travelling from Gao to Ménaka on a security patrol in Jackal armoured vehicles when they were forced to fend off an attack from the jihadis.
After shooting their enemy and searching the area, the British troops found a cache of weapons including a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, a machine gun, 100 rounds of ammunition and a radio.
A UN spokesman said British peacekeepers had "repelled an attack by two armed individuals".
They added: "The UN peacekeepers vigorously retaliated, neutralizing the two individuals."
Violent extremists, including from Islamic State, have been causing severe instability and hindering development in Mali and across the Sahel region of Africa.
The Sahel is one of Africa’s poorest and most fragile regions, with high levels of poverty.