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A dead green beret in northern Mali. Sergeant Kalafut was Slovak (Maj2)

Embarkation of the 2nd REP - (credit: DICOD / EMA)
Embarkation of the 2nd REP - (credit: DICOD / EMA)

(BRUSSELS2) A non-commissioned officer of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment of Calvi (2nd REP) - the green berets of the Foreign Legion - died last night (7 to 8 May) in northern Mali. The Elysée confirmed it this morning (May 8) as well as the Minister of Defense. He fell while the French army was engaged in a vast operation intended to " securing the gates of the Tigharghar massif » to hunt down the terrorist groups that are still hiding. Two other French soldiers were injured. But their " days are not in danger “As a spokesperson for the General Staff of the Armed Forces told B2

An improvised explosive device

The drama unfolded on Wednesday, a little before midnight, in the Tigharghar massif, in north-eastern Mali, about twenty kilometers east of Tessalit” indicates the General Staff. The light vehicle - in which there were three other soldiers - “jumped on an explosive device during an undercover mission. They have " were immediately transported to Tessalit by helicopter, to be taken care of by a French medical team presents the places.

A legionnaire born in the former Czechoslovakia

One of them, Sergeant Kalafut, however, was mortally wounded. He " died of his injuries ". His body, as well as the two lighter injuries were transported to the city of Gao at the end of the night. Twenty-six years old, Marcel Kalafut was born on November 19, 1987 in what was, at the time, Czechoslovakia. He joined the Foreign Legion at the age of 19 on May 10, 2007. After his training at the 4th Foreign Regiment of Castelnaudary, he joined the 19nd Foreign Parachute Regiment on September 2007, 2 as a grenadier-acrobat. He had already participated in several external engagements (Opex) - specifies the press service of the Army - in Gabon (2008), in Afghanistan (2010), in Mali and in the Central African Republic (2013).

This is not the first time that a European citizen has died in Mali under the colors of the French army. A double Franco-Belgian national from the 2nd REP (also) died in February 2013. Read: Died in action for France (and Belgium)

A terrorist risk that is not eliminated

On this day which is a public holiday in France, to celebrate the end of the Second World War, this death (the 8e since the start of Operation Serval, a 7th soldier had died by accident on July 31, 2014) is a reminder that the "terrorist" risk in northern Mali is not over. General Foucaud had entrusted it to B2 during the report carried out in Mali in March. " Terrorist groups have been hit by Serval but remain active. » And even if the situation in the north “ is rather favorable to the Serval forces, there are areas where the terrorists are established and they have the support of the population. Read (full interview on the Club): Mali: terrorists still present. A Serval operation still necessary

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(Updated) Fri May 9 (with details on conditions of the intervention) and Sat May 10 (with biographical details on the deceased soldier)

Other information on the subject:

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).