Denmark's Social Democrat government has secured parliamentary backing for its plans to send military contributions to the Sahel and West Africa.
The measure is presented as strengthening Denmark’s security through military efforts.
“I am pleased that we, with a broad majority behind us, are now strengthening Denmark’s military efforts in the Sahel area”, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said.
Starting from November 2021, Denmark will contribute a frigate and a maritime task force to the Gulf of Guinea for approximately five months. The frigate Esben Snare will be equipped with a Seahawk helicopter. All in all, the mission is expected to feature some 195 servicemen.
The mission in the Gulf of Guinea will be part of international operations to fight piracy, which is rampant in the region.
“It has become a hotspot for piracy and attacks on civilian shipping”, Kofod emphasised. “That is why we are working both diplomatically and militarily to combat the massive challenges of piracy that we see in the area.”
“This is initiated because the maritime security is challenged. Pirates are behind several severe kidnappings in the area. It threatens the security of Danish and foreign crews. In such a situation we cannot and shall not just watch. We must stand up for the right to free navigation. The Danish Navy has previously proved strong and important in combating the pirates”, Danish Defence Minister Trine Bramsen said earlier.
The task of the frigate will therefore be to fight piracy and support and escort civil shipping in the area. The Danish task force will also be trained to carry out rescue operations on hijacked ships.
The Danish Parliament has approved deployment of a 🇩🇰 frigate to the Gulf of Guinea to protect international shipping from pirates.— Jeppe Kofod (@JeppeKofod) May 25, 2021
Important to protect seafarers and ensure freedom of navigation at sea.https://t.co/1BgkUPLnf6 #dkpol
As the world’s fifth largest marine nation, Denmark has a special interest in protecting civil shipping and the right to free navigation. On average, between 30 and 40 Danish-operated ships sail through the Gulf of Guinea every day and they transport goods to the tune of almost 10 billion DKK ($1.6 billion) a year.
There, Denmark will try to proactively contain Daesh* and Al-Qaeda* that are trying to gain a foothold in the Sahel region.
“An active Denmark in the world means a more secure Denmark at home”, Kofod emphasised.
“There are still evil forces that will destroy our freedom, security and democratic way of life. From the Danish side, we have a shared responsibility to prevent terrorist organisations from taking root in unstable societies”, Defence Minister Trine Bramsen said.
The new Danish contributions to the Sahel will be part of the French-led Operation Barkhane – which fights terrorism in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauretania, and Chad.
The Danish military force of 105 servicemen will also be tasked with advising, supporting, and accompanying Malian defence and security forces.
* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/“Islamic State”) and Al-Qaeda are terrorist organisations banned in Russia and other countries