Mali – New EDF contingent starts Mali anti-insurgency operation service

22/12/2020- An Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) platoon newly-slated for the French-led counter-insurgency Operation Barkhane has largely arrived in the West African country of Mali, Baltic News Service reports.

The bulk of the BKN-08 Estpla personnel arrived in the city of Gao, where the EDF has been based for several years, while Maj. Vjatseslav Senin relieved Maj. Argo Sibul of command, as per schedule, the defense ministry says.

Maj. Senin said that in cooperating with its allies, the EDF is boosting the security of not only the local populace, but also, ultimately, Europe, and with it, Estonia.

He said: « The main group of the infantry platoon arrived today and is about to achieve initial combat readiness in a few hours. BKN-08 Estpla will start performing its duties in a few days already. »

Operation Barkhane as a whole inolves several of the Sahel nations, many of them former French colonies, and thus a vast swathe of territory, and is also focused on combating human trafficking and terrorism.

Estonia’s rationale for taking part primarily revolves around a trade-off; helping to secure the EU’s southern approaches in Operation Barkhane and other initiatives in return for the presence of both the EU and NATO in Estonia, at Tapa and Ämari and with it the securing of the union’s eastern flank.

Maj. Senin expressed his gratitude to the previous contingent for a seamless handover procedure, wishing them a safe trip back home and a happy time with family during the upcoming holidays.

Junior Warrant Officer Janek Pent from BKN-08 Espla said concurred that the takeover of responsibilities and duties from the outgoing platoon had gone smoothly. 

He said: « We went on patrol with the previous platoon three times and received a very good overview of our area of responsibility and the environment. The fact that all squad leaders have participated in the operation Barkhane and are familiar with the area of responsibility helped a lot; in addition, we have a detailed overview of the other tasks of our platoon, which are guarding of the base and rapid response to emergencies. The main unit just arrived, we will achieve tentative combat capability in a few hours and full combat capability in a few days. »

Gao, on the banks of the River Niger, is temporary home to over 1,500 troops from several countries involved in Operation Barkhane, with the EDF component tasked with patrolling, base protection and manning of a rapid response unit.

ERR News

Sahel-Elite (Bamako-Mali) | Photo: EDF member from a previous rotation (Espla-30) on patrol in Gao, Mali. Source: mil.ee 

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Mali : UK loans Estonia four Jackal vehicles to support counter-terror mission in Mali

14/07/2020 – Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey confirmed the loan, plus a three-week training package, for elite soldiers of the Estonian Armed Forces.

The loan will equip Estonian troops as they join the international fight against Islamic terrorism in the Sahel region of Africa, a further example of the UK’s strong partnership with one of its closest NATO allies. Continuer à lire … « Mali : UK loans Estonia four Jackal vehicles to support counter-terror mission in Mali »

EU special ops to deploy in Mali Wednesday: French minister

13/07/2020 – A joint EU special ops force formed to back Mali’s fight against jihadist groups will deploy in the West African country on Wednesday, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said.Around 100 French and Estonian troops will initially make up the force dubbed Takuba, Parly told the online version of the daily La Croix on Sunday. Continuer à lire … « EU special ops to deploy in Mali Wednesday: French minister »

Estonia / Mali: Foreign, defense ministers emphasize need to stabilize Sahel region

13/06/2020 – Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) and Minister of Defense Jüri Luik (Isamaa) on Friday attended a high-level meeting of the Coalition for the Sahel, where they expressed support for the coalition and emphasized the need to stabilize the Sahel region.

The agenda for Friday’s meeting, which was also attended by foreign and defense ministers from France, the U.K-, the U.S. and the G5 Sahel states⁠ — Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad⁠ — as well as other parties and representatives operating in the Sahel region, included military operations in the Sahel region, providing security support to the G5 Sahel countries and engaging the international community, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release.
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Chad plans military deployment to Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger tri-border area

21/01/2020 – Chad’s defense minister discussed plans to deploy a battalion of military personnel to the Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger tri-border area with his French and Swedish counterparts on Monday, January 20, according to reports.

France’s Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly arrived in Chad’s capital N’Djamena on Sunday to begin a two-day visit to the Sahel region accompanied by Sweden’s Minister for Defence, Peter Hultqvist, the French ministry said in a statement. Continuer à lire … « Chad plans military deployment to Mali-Burkina Faso-Niger tri-border area »

Mali – Estonia likely to double number of Mali troops

05/09/2019 – Estonia’s contingent in a French-led anti-terrorist operation in the West African country of Mali is set to double, Baltic News Service reports. The move comes as part of a wider strategy of increasing Estonian military participation in various international operations and missions.

Continuer à lire … « Mali – Estonia likely to double number of Mali troops »

Sahel – Consultations in Denmark on the Danish army’s possible participation in Operation Barkhane (March 1) #Mali

2019/03/06 – France applauds the consultations initiated by the Danish Government with Parliament for the purpose of deciding in the second half of 2019 whether the Danish army will take part in Operation Barkhane in Mali, with the contribution of two transport helicopters. Continuer à lire … « Sahel – Consultations in Denmark on the Danish army’s possible participation in Operation Barkhane (March 1) #Mali »

Mali/Estonia – Defence minister meets EDF personnel in Mali

2019/01/24 – Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Pro Patria) visited members of ESTPLA-28, the Estonian contingent stationed in the West African country of Mali, during his visit there on Wednesday.

Mr Luik recognised the Estonian soldiers for their contribution towards ensuring the security of Estonia and its allies, during a visit aimed at getting acquainted with the situation on the ground and the work of Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) personnel.
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2018/21/12 – The chief of staff of the defense forces of France, Army Gen. Jean-Pierre Bosser, visited the Gao military base that is the place of service for the Estonian infantry platoon deployed to Mali and thanked the soldiers from the nations supporting France in the operation, including Estonia, who are serving there. Bosser, who is on a two-day pre-Christmas visit to the Gao base, emphasized the importance of the operation for ensuring the security of the Sahel region and thanked all the soldiers participating in the mission, military spokespeople in Tallinn said. Continuer à lire … «  »

Mali/Estonia – Digest: Why Estonia’s contributions in Africa continue to make sense (Opinion)

2018/16/11- Foreign news editor at daily Postimees, Martin Kutti writes in a comment for his paper why Estonia should continue to contribute to international efforts in Africa’s Sahel zone. Kutti accompanied Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) Gen. Riho Terras to Mali earlier in October.
Continuer à lire … « Mali/Estonia – Digest: Why Estonia’s contributions in Africa continue to make sense (Opinion) »