TALLINN, Aug 10, BNS - The Estonian infantry platoon ESTPLA-26 started service in the French-led operation Barkhane in Mali this week.The primary objective of the Estonian contingent is to achieve combat readiness to start fulfilling the duties assigned to it. In order for settling into the local environment and conditions to be as smooth as possible, the Estonians are working closely with French soldiers, spokespeople at the military headquarters in Tallinn said on Friday.Estonian and French soldiers are together manning checkpoints and patrolling the surroundings of the Gao military base. The Estonian unit will achieve full combat readiness in the second half of August.Meeting with the new Estonian contingent which started its airlift from Estonia to Mali early on Monday morning, the commander of the Gao base, Col. Jean de Monicault, attached an emblem with the symbol of the French Foreign Legion to the shoulder of the head of the Estonian contingent, Maj. Kristjan Karist, and emphasized a close bond between the forces."There are people of many nationalities serving in the Foreign Legion, therefore I know that Estonians will settle in into our routines fast," Monicault said according to spokespeople for the Estonian defense headquarters.The Riigikogu in spring this year gave a mandate to the defense forces to deploy an infantry platoon sized unit to the French led anti-insurgency operation Barkhane covering five countries of the Sahel region: Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad. The operation is aimed at supporting the five countries in combating extremism, illegal migration and human trafficking.Tallinn newsroom, +372 610 8852, firstname.lastname@example.orgBaltic News Service
Published: 10.08.2018 14:12
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