In a ceremony held at Ämari Air Base on Thursday, France awarded mission medals to troops of the Estonian contingent that served in Mali under Operation Barkhane.
The medals were awarded to 48 members of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) by French Defense Attache Lt. Col. Frank Piffer and Lt. Col. Mathieu Courtaban, head of the French contingent currently serving the Baltic Air Policing mission out of Ämari Air Base.
Members of the EDF have served under Operation Barkhane at a French base located in the city of Gao since 2018.
In addition to foot and armored patrols in Gao and surrounding areas, Estonian troops in Mali are also tasked with manning base entrances and lookout posts and fulfilling the tasks of a rapid response unit.
Operation Barkhane is a French-led anti-insurgent mission in the Sahel region, the objective of which is to support Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in their fight against radical Islamic terrorism as well as counter illegal migration and human trafficking. Estonian units serve four-month rotations in Mali.
Editor: Aili Vahtla