The United States has dispatched about 100 military trainers to six nations that will contribute troops to a pan-African force being prepared for deployment to Mali, the State Department said Friday.
The initial U.S. trainers will “discuss training and equipping and deployment needs of those countries in the interest of getting them ready to go into Mali,” spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
The training mission in Niger, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo and Ghana is the largest U.S. involvement to date in preparations for the African force, which is being assembled by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS.
The United States also has promised to help fly equipment and troops for the force into Mali. That effort may involve U.S. aircraft but could also be done with Nigerian, South African or outside commercial aircraft paid for by the United States.