FURIOUS soldiers who helped to fight the scourge of Islamic extremism in West Africa four years ago have still not received campaign medals because the cash-strapped MoD cannot afford to make them.
More than 350 troops from the Royal Irish Regiment, Royal Marines and the RAF were deployed to Mali and surrounding countries to help train local forces combat the rising threat ISIS and al Qaeda.
The new General Service Medal 08 was finally announced by David Cameron in 2015 to recognise the efforts of soldiers sent to parts of the world on special operations which “kept Britain safe”.
But only a handful have received them.
Officials at the MoD Medal office admitted that “commercial constraints and increased financial scrutiny” meant that a second contract to make more of the medals has still not been agreed.
The delay sparked fury from serving soldiers, with one senior NCO calling the delay “disgusting and disrespectful”.
David Cameron’s decision to deploy the troops – criticised by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – followed warnings by Africa minister Mark Simmonds that the West African state was on the verge of collapse, and risked becoming a “terrorist haven”.
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