West Africa - SahelBlog AnalysisMissions Operations

Four Spanish soldiers decorated for their courageous action in Koulikoro (V2)

(B2) The Spanish Ministry of Defense decorated on June 18 four Spanish soldiers from EUTM Mali who stopped the assault on the Malian base of Koulikoro, Mali
Private D. Gomez (credit: Spanish army)

A well-deserved award. It is certain that without their decisive action, theattack on Koulikoro camp, of the EU training mission for the Malian army (EUTM Mali), would have wreaked havoc.

A massacre averted

The Spanish soldiers had to face an attack which began at three in the morning. Arriving near the center, the terrorists got out of one of the vehicles and began shooting near one of the secondary access doors. The vehicles then headed towards the main gate. The Spanish soldiers, ensuring the protection of the camp, as well as the Malian soldiers repelled the attackers. The second vehicle, seeing that the first could not enter the camp, triggered an explosion near the center gate, without however causing significant damage. No one was killed on the European side, but two Malian soldiers were injured and treated by medical services. Read the attack details.

The two soldiers of the protection forces decorated

Richard Ríos and Daniel Gómez, soldiers of the protection forces of the EUTM Mali mission, received the Cross of Military Merit with a red decoration for their behavior during the operation requiring the use of armed force against a terrorist attack that occurred on the 24 last February.

…and two soldiers from the neutralization team

First Sergeant Óscar Néstar, head of the first Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team (who responded to the incident area after the explosion) and First Sergeant Pedro Varela (who worked as an operator) received the Cross of Military Merit with blue distinction. The two men were responsible for the subsequent process of deactivating the devices, thereby securing the area.


A special tribute was paid to them during the July 14 parade in France, a company of the 3rd infantry regiment de Siero having been invited to open the parade on the Champs Elysées for the French National Day

Updated July 14, 2019

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).

Privacy Preferences Center