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Several French and Estonian soldiers injured in Gao during a suicide attack (V4)

(B2) A vehicle bomb (VBIED) exploded this Monday (July 22) in the afternoon at the entrance to the French military base in Gao, injuring three French and Estonian soldiers, announced the spokesperson of the French army general staff, Colonel Frédéric Barbry, to AFP

Estonian soldiers in Mali (credit: French Armed Forces Staff)

A suicide attack

The VBIED (Vehicle Terminal Improvised Explosive Devices) its " presented at 15:45 p.m. local time at the entrance to the French part of the Gao camp » at the entrance to the Barkhane force camp which also houses the United Nations peacekeeping force (Minusma) and the Malian armed forces (Fama) on the other side. The attack was aimed at initially the entrance to the part of the camp of the Malian Armed Forces, but the attackers would have fallen back on the French entrance, due to traffic conditions » indicates the French army general staff.

A vehicle painted in the colors of the Minusma

Two people were in the vehicle, which was painted in the colors of the United Nations force, MINUSMA. The passenger had worn a uniform similar to that of the Malian armed forces. He was neutralized by the camp's soldiers when he got out of the vehicle to use a weapon. The driver died in the explosion.

A dozen wounded soldiers...

(Maj) In fact the number of wounded is higher than that initially announced by the French general staff (three wounded). On the Estonian side, we thus note « six injured Estonians, three of whom remain under medical care » as the commander of the Estonian forces Martin Herem clarified during a press conference in Tallinn. « About the same number of French people were injured. " The wounded " immediately received first aid, and their injuries are not serious » assures the Estonian Ministry of Defense. Some have received shrapnel or bruises, others may have hearing problems.

…and two Malian civilians

Two Malian civilians present on site were also injured. supported by the Gao surgical branch. One of them was still in care on Tuesday (July 23) in the afternoon, but “ his vital prognosis is not engaged », Specifies the French general staff. Two Estonian soldiers and a French soldier were still being treated.

Phone call

The two Defense Ministers, Estonian Jüri Luik and Frenchwoman Florence Parly, spoke to each other in a telephone call on Tuesday morning (July 23). Florence Parly underlined “ the professional behavior of the Estonian Defense Forces during the attack “, wishing a” speedy recovery to the injured. A similar message from Jüri Luik who added: “ We are proud of the members of the Estonian Defense Forces who defend European security in Mali. […] It is in our interest to confront threats with our allies, to understand each other's needs and to strengthen our allies ».

A detachment of 50 soldiers

About fifty Estonian soldiers, mainly from the Scout Battalion Estonia (the rapid reaction unit of the 1st Estonian Infantry Brigade), have been providing the protection force for the Gao camp for almost a year (August 2018). They are reviewed every four months.

(NGV)

A Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) exploded on Monday (22 July) afternoon at the entrance to the French military base Gao, of the force Barkhane (Mali), causing three French and Estonians casualties, Colonel Frederic Barbry, spokesperson of the French General Staff of Armed Forces, said.

Updated Tuesday 23.7 11:30 a.m. (estonian side assessment), 13 p.m. (additional details on the Estonian side), 18 p.m. (circumstances of the attack – details in the title – revised 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).