British troops sent to Sierra Leone in mission to try to stop 15 MILLION African migrants coming to Europe

BRITISH troops have been sent to Sierra Leone to tackle people smugglers as Austrian spies reveal 15MILLION African migrants will head for Europe by 2020 – more than twice the population of Ireland.

UK Armed Forces are training alongside the west African nation's troops for the first time ever to stem the tide of migrants fleeing crippling poverty.

The news comes as Austrian intelligence agencies warn that the number of economic refugees will spike in the next three years because of a sharp rise in unemployment in the countries concerned.

Bild reports most of the refugees will come from Eritrea, Nigeria, Somalia, followed by Gambia, Mali and Algeria, Sudan , DR Congo, Guinea and Senegal.

Nearly 90 soldiers from 1st The Queen’s Dragoons Guards’ ‘B’ Squadron deployed alongside 25 soldiers from the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces for a jungle fighting exercise.

And Royal Navy ships are supporting Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean to stop human smugglers and arms traffickers who endanger the lives of migrants seeking to travel to Europe, often from northern Africa.

HMS Bulwark, HMS Enterprise, HMS Echo, HMS Diamond have saved thousands of lives and smashed criminal gangs.

A Whitehall source told the Daily Mail: "We want to do more than pull migrants out of the water, we want to stop them before they get there.

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An overcrowded raft carrying African migrants on January 2Credit: Reuters

"We are focusing on the region to stop migrants at the source and by taking on terror in Africa it means we can stop terrorism spreading to the UK."

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: "Training with Sierra Leonean forces is just the latest example of the UK stepping up globally to tackle international threats that put Britain at risk.

"Wherever terrorism rears its ugly head, Britain will continue to back our friends as they work to defeat threats posed by these barbaric groups, including Daesh, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab.

"By helping our allies defeat terrorism and international crime around the world, our Armed Forces make the world more stable making Britain more secure and our streets safer."

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