Members of Italy‘s Parliament

BRUSSELS, Belgium–Italian parliament has given approval to the country prime minister’s decision to send hundreds of troops to Niger to help local authorities combat terrorism and migrant trafficking.

Last month the Italian government announced that it was planning to send troops to Niger.  With the parliament’s vote of approval, an initial deployment of 120 soldiers, and a maximum limit of 470 will be put in place to proceed.

The parliamentary approval was supported by the ruling Democratic Party and the conservative opposition party Forza Italia, while other opposition groups from the right and left opposed or abstained.

Italy’s Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti on Monday informed parliament that Italian troops would not have border patrol duties, instead, they would train Nigerian border guards and soldiers.

Niger, which borders war-torn Libya to the north, is a key transit nation for Europe-bound migrants and is part of the wider Sahel region beleaguered by terrorism and Islamist extremism.