The Czech Army Took Over the Command of the EUTM Mission in Mali Today

 12. 06. 2020      category: Army of the Czech Republic

Brigadier General František Ridzák today officially took over the command of the EUTM mission in Mali for half a year. The Czech soldiers will not only carry out patrolling activities here, protect the headquarters in Bamako, but will also directly take the entire mission under their wings.

Vojáci devátého úkolového uskupení mise EUTM
Picture: The Czech Army Took Over the Command of the EUTM Mission in Mali Today (illustrative photo) | army.cz

The main task of the whole mission is to help build and train the Malian army so that in the future it will be able to face the attacks of Islamist radicals and maintain the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. The duration of the EUTM Mali mission was originally set for 15 months. The EU mission in Mali is non-combat, and focused on training. It is located in the southwestern part of Mali and trains soldiers of the armed forces, which are under the control of the legitimate Malian government. Czech soldiers have been serving in Mali since the approval of the mandate in 2013 or rather 2014.

Nácvik na základně v Bamaku
Picture: The main task of the whole mission is to help build and train the Malian army so that in the future it will be able to face the attacks of Islamist radicals and maintain the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. (illustrative photo) | army.cz

Fourteen days ago, the last part of forty Ministry of Defence members to form the headquarters of the EU training mission arrived in Mali. They will take over the command from their Portuguese colleagues. This is the first time that the mission will be commanded by the Czechs. And it is not just soldiers, the mission will also include three civilian experts – a political adviser, a human rights and gender adviser and a forensic expert in the French language.

The soldiers who will serve at the headquarters are selected from units across the entire army, from command to combat units at the tactical level. The team members include paramedics, a military physician, a military veterinarian, training specialists, a lawyer, a financial specialist, and a spokesperson. The team has a total of seventeen officers who speak both English and French. And a total of three women will be in command of the mission.

Náročné prostředíPicture: The soldiers who will serve at the headquarters are selected from units across the entire army, from command to combat units at the tactical level. (illustrative photo) | army.cz

This year, the Council of the European Union extended the duration of the training mission for the fifth time until 2024. The Council has expanded its mandate and increased staffing and budget. The mission will thus be able, through military counselling, training and mentoring, to provide military assistance even outside Mali to other G5 Sahel states, with priority for Burkina Faso and Niger.

“By sending forces and resources to Mali, Niger and Chad, the Czech Republic confirms its position of a country that intends to fight all forms of terrorism, and therefore fulfilling one of the points of the Government's Program Statement,” said Minister Metnar.

 Author: Martin Šiška