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The GTIA 8 soon ready. A complete training

CommandosTir@EUTM Mali160404(BRUSSELS2) In Koulikoro, the training of 600 members of the 8th GTIA (combined arms tactical group) of the Malian army is coming to an end. It is the last battalion formed under the mandate of the European training mission (EUTM Mali). The deployment to fight against jihadists should not take long.

Some new training

The weeks of theoretical training gave way to practical exercises, which followed one another with a certain frenzy, always under intense heat. And for the last training carried out under his second mandate, the European training mission of the Malian armed forces (FAMA) did well. In addition to the usual and essential exercises for securing an area and detecting IEDs (improvised explosive devices), two new features should be noted: mortar fire and forward air control. “Uno proof that the Malian armed forces are recovering all their capacities” we assure from the Koulikoro training camp.

Securing a combat zone: a crucial first step 

The operational patrol in a hostile environment, the reaction to an ambush, the evacuation under fire of a wounded person, without forgetting the establishment of an area control system are the exercises which were repeated the most during the two recent weeks. With different scenarios, the Europeans tested the reaction capacity of the Malians. One point was at the heart of the effort: maintaining radio communication with the command post. The goal is not only to train squadrons and platoons to carry out patrols, or checkpoints, but also to train the chain of commanders to choose appropriate tactical positions and direct their men on the ground.

MortarsEUTM Mali@EUTM Mali 160421
The two cannons used during training will accompany the GTIA 8 in its future missions (Credit: EUTM Mali)

Mortar fire, a first for EUTM Mali

For the first time since 2009, the Malian armed forces (FAMA) carried out a mortar attack on April 21, 2016. This is also a first for the EUTM Mali training team. The trainees of the 36th artillery regiment fired twelve shells with two 122mm cannons. The exercise ends a five-week specific training course, which ended with a result welcomed by the mission in a press release: “ the accuracy of the shots was excellent, and the preparation of the troops even better. »

(Credit: EUTM Mali)
(Credit: EUTM Mali)

Malians connected with the sky 

Once on a mission in the north of the country, the Malians will receive air support. It is therefore essential to know how to interact with the pilots of these devices to transmit them information on the location of the objectives to be destroyed. A complete team of forward air controllers (TACP – Tactical Air Control Party) was therefore set up. The first aircraft guidance exercise took place successfully on April 8, “despite some nervousness” explain the European trainers.

Beware of IEDs!



(Credit: ETUM Mali)
In this exercise, trainers and students study how to react to the threat of an IED at a road intersection (Credit: EUTM Mali)

These specialists have learned to identify and neutralize the devices. Easy to implement and conceal, these explosive devices require specific reactions from combatants to detect them (environment – ​​traces – landmarks – 5/25), and for the Malian forces of GTIA 8 in particular, specific actions to mark out the area, and precise to neutralize or destroy the machine.

According to the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), 261 people have been killed or injured by IEDs since 2013. Among them, civilians but also French and Malian soldiers and members of the United Nations mission, the MINUSCA.

The law of war, or how not to commit abuses

In all interactions with the local population as well as with their adversaries, Malians have been confronted with different scenarios to which they must react quickly and professionally, while following the rules of international humanitarian law and self-defense. The priority is clear: distinguish the adversary from the population and act legally at all times.

(Credit: EUTM Mali)
(Credit: EUTM Mali)

As for all the battalions trained by EUTM Mali, International Humanitarian Law is a key facet which has gained importance with an effectiveness proven by results as General Marc Rudkiezwicz explained to us a few months ago (Read: EUTM Mali's mission: to produce GTIA (Marc Rudkiewicz)

(Leonor Hubaut)

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Leonor Hubaut

© B2 - Bruxelles2 is a French online media that focuses on political Europe (powers, defence, foreign policy, internal security). It follows and analyzes developments in European policy, unvarnished and without concessions. Approved by the CPPAP. Member of SPIIL. Please quote "B2" or "Bruxelles2" in case of recovery Leonor Hubaut is a journalist. Graduated in international relations from the Free University of Brussels (specialization in globalization). She covers for B2 the work of the European Parliament, CSDP missions and African issues. Sahel specialist.