West Africa - Sahel

First mission in Africa for Chrudim's paratroopers

Chrudim's paratroopers before their departure (Czech Army)

(BRUSSELS2) The Czech soldiers are ready to leave for Mali. They should be there in the week, in mid-March. The last packages were made on Friday March 8th. And the verdict of the general inspectorate of the army fell: "it's good".

34 soldiers in charge of protection

The detachment will include 34 soldiers, including 32 men from the 43rd parachute battalion of Chrudim, an elite unit deployed on a number of external terrains (Balkans, Afghanistan for Enduring Freedom and IFAS, Kosovo). He will be responsible for protecting the headquarters of the Malian army training mission (EUTM) in Bamako.

« This will be the first mission in Africa, It's quite a new experiencesomething else for us explained the head of the unit, Lieutenant Stepanek. " Most of the team has worked in Afghanistan and we are ready for a wide range of tasks”. The soldiers underwent a short, tactical training (handling of firearms, training of escorts and escort of personality) and also of apprehension of the region. " We had crash courses with experts from the African continent to learn about the country's history, cultural practices and people”.

The military will have three LRD 130 Kajman vehicles as well as three Iveco armored vehicles, armed with the new BREN automatic rifles, the Czech General Staff said. Equipment that will be transported on site by Ukrainian An-124 or Illyouchine-76 planes from the SALIS contract.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).