West Africa - SahelBlog AnalysisMissions Operations

Terrorist attack on Le Campement, Europeans (and Malians) reacted well (V10)

(credit: France 24)

(B2) These facts have been carefully glossed over by European authorities for rather incomprehensible reasons (read: North Korean communication. A lack of tact and strategy). They deserve to be traced. Because the European (and Malian) reaction during the terrorist attack on Le Campement in Kangaba, near Bamako, on Sunday (June 18) was exemplary: rapid, diverse and effective. At times when Europeans sometimes doubt themselves, their ability to react, to have their own defense, to train others, this is great proof of the possible dynamics.

The soldiers present in civilian clothes delay the progress of the terrorists

Many foreigners were, in fact, present during the attack, including around ten members of the EUTM Mali mission (including two Irish) and soldiers from MINUSMA. Some of them grab their service weapon (2) and respond to the terrorists' first shots. It is their presence, and their reaction, which apparently avoids a heavier toll. “ By interposing and retaliating, they considerably slowed down the terrorists in their progress and allowed many people to escape. told us a European diplomat. " If they hadn't been there, it would have been carnage “, confirms a Western security source to Young Africa.

La Quick Reaction Force european triggered

Very quickly, at 16 p.m., the alert was raised at EUTM Mali HQ in Bamako and orders were given to two QRF rapid reaction teams (quick reaction force) to move towards the hotel complex. It’s the Czechs who are going for it. They join together and support the Malian forces. After " an action in contact with terrorists – according to the very terms of the press release from the Czech general staff received by B2 –, and in cooperation with members of the Malian armed forces and other components, the soldiers ensured the rescue and evacuation of civilians [present], first aid to the injured and accompanied the ambulances”.

Medevac and helicopters

The medical service of the EUTM Mali mission is also mobilized. An ambulance very quickly joined the device at 16:55 p.m. (local time) while the medical means (role 2), located in Koulikoro were put on alert » indicates the HQ of the European mission in Bamako. While a mission helicopter takes to the air to carry out a search and rescue operation, and “ find the people who had hidden [in the hills] in order to escape the assailants ". All the people in the mission were able to be found and brought to safety Monday, June 19 at 10 a.m. ". But the helicopter continues its search work “ a good part of the day to try to find other possible missing persons », in particular to guide and support terrestrial research teams. The Camp area is indeed “ very extensive and steep (more or less 23 hectares) ».

The good behavior of the Malian forces

The Malians intervene quickly, notably FORSAT. The anti-terrorist special forces begin by exfiltrating as many people as possible who have hidden or been taken hostage by the terrorists. Then a general assault was launched with the support of Barkhane, European and MINUSMA forces. An intervention welcomed by European security experts: “ Malian security forces were quickly in the area. They responded effectively to terrorists » told us a specialist on the issue, thus giving satisfaction to these forces created in 2016, with the support of the French and Europeans, by drawing lessons from previous attacks (3). The Malian forces paid a heavy price in this action: a chief sergeant killed (Zani known as Kassim Traoré) and seven wounded (four national guards, two policemen and a gendarme).

Zani's funeral says Kassim Traore (credit: Malian Ministry of Security and Civil Protection)

The baptism of fire for the mini European HQ

This attack demonstrates that, even “non-executive”, EU training missions are among the most exposed of the missions and operations carried out by the European Union within the framework of the common European and security policy. For the MPCC, the mini HQ for conducting military missions, this attack is also, in a way, the baptism of fire. Since its creation had just been approved on June 8 (read: The mini European military HQ is born).

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Three attacks took place at Bar la Terrasse in Bamako in March 2015 (read: Attack in Bamako, several European victims including an EU agent), in 2015 at the Blu Radisson hotel (read: European experts lent a hand after the Blu Radisson attack in Bamako), and in March 2016, at the Nord Sud hotel, the EUTM Mali HQ (read: EUTM Mali HQ attacked in Bamako. A new target in the Sahel: Europe).

Updated: (19.6) sending of the Czech QRF, reaction of the soldiers on site, news of the missing Swedish soldier (20.6) action of the Malian forces, change of the illustration photo. (21.6) details on the Medevac and the action of a helicopter in SAR. (25.6) Malian assessment.

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).