The Czech General Officer will officially become the Commander of the EUTM Mission in Mali
The Brigadier General František Ridzák was officially confirmed to the position of the Commander of the Training Mission by the Political and Security Committee of the EU. He will take it over from the hands of the Portuguese General for half a year on 12th June. Below you will find out who the Brigadier General Ridzák is, what tasks the Army of the Czech Republic will perform in Mali and what the significance this mission has.
Czech soldiers will have six months of commanding responsibility. It means a significant shift especially in comparison with guard and training activities. The participation of the Slovaks is expected. In respect to the completed guard company at the Bagram base in Afghanistan, the mission in Mali will become a key place of the operation of our soldiers. Therefore, they will gain other necessary experience that no ordinary training in a domestic environment is able to replace. In addition, the soldiers are located in an international environment that imposes high requirements on the preparation, but also the language skills in which our soldiers belong among the best ones.
The current Director of the Communicaion and Information Systems Agency, the Brigadier General František Ridzák, will become the Mission Commander of the EUTM in Mali. This almost fifty-four-year-old General graduated in 1985-1990 at the Military Technical College in Liptovský Mikuláš, the field of Military Technology – electrical engineering, military engineering, automated commands systems. In 2010-2011 he graduated from the Collége Interarmées de Défense (CID), i.e. the course of the General Staff in Paris. It should be mentioned that the General Officer Ridzák is fluent in English and French, whereas French is essential in particular in Mali. His military career is accompanied especially by communication systems, command and control systems. He also has several years of experience of working in Brussels, however, no combat experience from the missions so far. It is necessary to take into account that Mali is not a permanent area and there is a number of Islamist groups.
Currently, the composition of the mission is as follows: Command and Staff of the Task Force (TF) of the Army of the Czech Republic in Mali (in the number of 15 people) assists in the planning and command with its members. Some of the members have been also assigned to international positions within the Mission Headquarters. Apart from the Command and Staff there are two units in Mali. The task of the first unit is to protect the Headquarters of the training mission in Bamako, to accompany the Commander and staff of the mission, to provide security of the Headquarters, the VIP protection and escort, eventually a MEDEVAC medical deportation. The total of 32 people has been involved in this.
The second unit of the protection force ensures the protection of the training camp in Koulikoro, provides escorts and protection for members of the Headquarters and participates in the training of the Malian Army. In carrying out these tasks, the Czech soldiers cooperate mainly with French, Malian, German and Spanish troops. This is the task for 74 soldiers in total. This means that there is about a hundred soldiers in the two cases who perform both the watchkeeping and participation in mentoring.
Due to the fact that the security situation in Mali has been relatively aggravated in recent months (especially in the centre of the country) and taking into account the completed guard company at the Bagram base in Afghanistan, a significant increase in the number of our soldiers operating in Mali can be expected, which would have to be definitely approved by the Government.