NEO in West Africa

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Goatman, Nov 11, 2004.

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  1. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    From the Mod Web this evening, apologies if someone else has posted first:

    Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon MP, has confirmed that LPD HMS Albion will head for Cote D'Ivoire, joining Royal Gurkha Rifles and RAF transport aircraft on high alert, in support of a potential evacuation operation.


    Côte d'Ivoire [Map courtesy of Foreign and Commonwealth Office]

    The decision to prepare to evacuate UK nationals reflects the deteriorating security conditions in the West African nation.

    MOD has ordered the deployment of the Spearhead Lead Company group, comprising the Royal Gurkha Rifles. The Company Group was pre-positioned in Accra last night and is now on immediate notice to be called forward to support the evacuation in Abidjan. It is intended to support this evacuation with a number of RAF transport aircraft. In total this equates to a deployment of up to around 300 personnel.

    As an additional contingency the Landing Platform Dock HMS Albion has been redirected towards Côte d’Ivoire, and the notice to move for other force elements has been reduced should they be required.

    The deployment is designed to strengthen a UK military liaison and reconnaissance team, which is already advising the British Ambassador in Abdijan. Any potential evacuation operation is expected to last days, not weeks.

    In a statement to Parliament on 11 November 2004, the Secretary of State said:

    "The UK places the utmost priority on protecting its citizens whether at home or abroad. We are always prepared to deploy British forces to evacuate UK nationals should their lives be placed in jeopardy. In light of the deteriorating security situation in Côte d’Ivoire, a military reconnaissance team deployed earlier this week to assess the requirement to evacuate UK nationals. I wish to inform the House that, following this reconnaissance, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has requested British forces to undertake an evacuation of UK nationals and others over the next few days. Some 400 people are entitled to our protection.

    "While I cannot give the House precise details of the mission for reasons of operational security, we have now established liaison teams in Abidjan, and at Accra in Ghana. Concurrently, we have ordered the deployment of the Spearhead Lead Company Group comprising Royal Gurkha Regiment personnel to assist with this evacuation. The Company Group is pre-positioning in Accra and will be on immediate notice to be called forward to support the evacuation in Abidjan. It is intended to support this evacuation with a number of RAF transport aircraft. In total this equates to a deployment of around 300 personnel.

    "As an additional contingency we have redirected the Landing Platform Dock HMS Albion towards Côte d’Ivoire, and reduced the notice to move for other force elements should they be required. We would expect the operation to last days, not weeks.

    "Our ability to react quickly to the situation on Côte d’Ivoire is testament to the flexibility and capability of Britain’s Armed Forces, and to the professionalism of British Servicemen and women. The UK is working in close co-operation with international partners to monitor and respond to the situation in Côte d’Ivoire as it develops. In particular, we are working with the French and Ghanaians, who have offered significant enabling support to British forces."

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    For those who are not aware, there are 4,000 French troops already in country ( mind you, some people would say they never left !)


    Le Chevre