EU training mission to Mali to be 'well back from front line'

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The commander of the EU's training mission to Mali has insisted the personnel involved will be "well back from the front lines" and will not see combat.

A number of EU countries - including the UK - have sent troops to be part of the training mission, following the insurgency earlier in the year.

Speaking at the European External Action Service on 5 March 2013, Brigadier General Fran├žois Lecointre said there was "no sign" of EU governments rescinding on their commitments, despite intense fighting in recent weeks.

Troops from France and a number of African countries have driven Islamist groups out of the main cities in the north of the country following a major offensive beginning in January.

Three French soldiers have been killed in fierce fighting in the north of the country.

The aim of the training mission is to train four Malian battalions to help keep the country secure.

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