News BlogWest Africa - SahelPolice Terrorism

Attack in Bamako, several European victims including an EU agent (maj4)

Restaurant in Bamako (Credit: Minusma)
Restaurant in Bamako (Credit: Minusma)

(BRUSSELS2) During the night from Friday to Saturday, an attack took place in Bamako, Mali, in a restaurant very frequented by expatriates, La Terrasse (in the Hippodrome district). " A man entered the establishment, threw grenades, then went upstairs (where the bar is) and opened fire with an automatic weapon " precise RFI who first gave the information. " This attack was carried out by at least one masked person who opened fire on customers “Specifies for its part the Minusma. This is the first time that an attack has taken place in the middle of the Malian capital. It comes just a few days after the announcement of a partial peace agreement in Algiers.

5 dead and XNUMX injured

The first report drawn up by reports 5 dead: 1 Belgian, 1 French and 1 other of unspecified nationality, and 3 Malians, including 1 policeman who tried to intervene and 1 private guard. New injured, some of them in serious condition, were taken to hospital. " There would be no French among the wounded “indicates the Elysée” but checks are in progress ". Three Swiss are among the injured, including 2 soldiers assigned to mine clearance by Minusma (the United Nations mission) and a woman more seriously affected.

A European agent among the victims...

Didier Reynders and Federica Mogherini, condemning the Bamako attack in front of the press in Riga and confirming the death of a European security agent (© NGV /B2)
Didier Reynders and Federica Mogherini, condemning the Bamako attack in front of the press in Riga and confirming the death of a European security agent (© NGV /B2)

The first elements, collected by B2, did not exclude that an agent or official working on behalf of the EU had been reached. This information was confirmed very quickly by the High Representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini, in a tweet: " I just spoke with the head of the EU delegation in Mali. One of the victims worked with us for three months (*). He is a Belgian citizen, who provided security for the delegation, she said at the end of the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Riga, sending her condolences to the families, concert with the Belgian Minister, Didier Reynders.

...and former Belgian soldier

His name was later known. He is a former Belgian soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Ronny Piens, who had just (in December) left the military career, Officer" (RSO) for the delegation he had joined 26 years ago, in August 1988. He was married and leaves 2 children.

LttColRonnyPiens
Ronny Piens, then Major, during the presentation of the Army-Foreign Affairs collaboration at B'Fast

A paratrooper, Ronny Piens served in the 1st Paracommando Battalion in Diest and in the 2nd Commando Battalion in Flawinne, in Kisangani (Congo). He was deployed in 2002 in Kosovo for the NATO stabilization operation (KFOR) as part of the "Belukos 7" contingent. In 2004, he took part in the Belgian army's "Avenir" mission in an instruction mission on "PSO" techniques (peacekeeping operations) in the 1st Congolese Brigade. He was then active in B'Fast, the Belgian rapid intervention structure, which was deployed in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, bringing together soldiers and diplomats (see here).

He had arrived in Mali with the EU delegation, as regional security officer ("Regional Security Officer") providing security for the delegation of Mali but also of Niger and Mauritania.

French aid to Mali

This " loose “attack was denounced” with the greatest strength by the French President Francois Hollande. " France stands alongside the Malians in this ordeal " he added offering the President of Mali Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta " his friendship and the help of France ". Francois Hollande " remembers that President Keïta stood by his side on January 11 in the streets of Paris after the January 7-9 attacks, he said in a statement released Saturday morning.

The stabilization effort is not acquired

For its part, Didier Reynders, the Belgian Foreign Minister, sentenced, from Riga, where he is attending the informal meeting of Foreign Ministers “the ignoble terror that cowardly struck again. Our thoughts go out to the victims, including a Belgian, and to their loved ones. » His Latvian counterpart, Edgars Rinkevičs, indicated that the attack on Bamako « watch which we can not take the stabilization process in Mali for granted. The efforts must continue”.

Determination to fight terrorism

For the High Representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini, this act " only reinforces the importance of concluding a peace agreement in Mali so that the right, the order and Security can be ensured in all the countries. This terrorist act strengthens even more our determination to help fight against terrorism In the region. It is important that all the communities of Mali, locals and foreigners, can live in the peace and security.

Reinforced security in Bamako

The French Embassy set up a crisis unit, warned the French from that night and reinforced the security of our establishments in conjunction with the Malian authorities ". In Bamako, two European peacekeeping missions under the CSDP (EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUTM Mali) as well as the UN mission (Minusma) have established their headquarters. MINUSMA has “ made UNPOL investigators and crime scene experts available to the Malian authorities”, the UN police force. " These investigators are currently working with their Malian colleagues “says a press release.

(NGV)

(*) This is the 53rd person employed by the EU, killed within the framework of an external mission of the EU or on the occasion of his official duties, according to the B2 database memoriam

Updated: 8 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 20 p.m. + Sun 8.3 refined review, various reactions

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).