LONDON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Britain is sending a military training team to Nigeria as part of the ongoing efforts to train local forces to combat Boko Haram, an indigenous Islamist terror group.
The soldiers being deployed -- more than 35 -- are from the Second Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment, and will deliver infantry training to Nigerian military forces preparing for counter-terror operations in the north of the country.
The deployment follows Defense Secretary Michael Fallon's announcement last month of increased aid to Nigeria in combating Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State jihadist organization.
"We stand united with Nigeria in its efforts to defeat the murderous Boko Haram extremists," he said. "Stepping up our training efforts will help support the Armed Forces of Nigeria for crucial counter-insurgency operations."
Fallon said the aid to Nigeria will include a doubling of the number of British personnel deployed on training tasks in Nigeria in the coming year, with up to 300 expected to provide support during 2016; deployment of a specialist team to provide assistance in countering improvised explosive devices; and deployment of a Royal Air Force team to help improve the knowledge and skills of the Nigerian Air Force in airfield defense and counter-insurgency.
The RAF team will be part of the 300 personnel.
According to the Ministry of Defense, about 130 British military personnel were deployed to Nigeria for training tasks last year, including infantry skills, civil-military affairs, command and leadership and IED awareness.