Estonian infantry platoon in Mali goes on first patrol

BKN-11 Estpla on patrol.
BKN-11 Estpla on patrol. Source:

Infantry platoon BKN-11 Estpla recently started their service in Gao, Mali, and conducted their first patrol and visited the range over Christmas.

"We started our first patrol with going to the range to test our weapons and adjust the sights," said Lieutenant Mihkel Tamm, platoon commander of BKN-11 Estpla. "The patrol enabled us to get an on-the-spot insight to our area of operation. The platoon has achieved combat readiness and is ready for its next assignments." 

Estonian troops serving in Mali send their warmest Christmas greetings to their families at home. 

The main body of Estonian contingent BKN-11 arrived in Mali in the beginning of last week. Their service began with an induction period, during which they got acquainted with base rules, battle rhythm and tasks. In addition, the unit started with manning the gates and observation posts of the Gao base and conducted the tasks of a rapid reaction unit.

The advance body of the platoon, together with the National Support Element, arrived at Gao military base a week earlier to prepare everything for the arrival of the main body. This enabled a quick battle readiness process.

The Estonian unit is located in Gao, Mali. Estonians live and serve in the same conditions as the French military. Rotation of the current unit in Mali started in December and will last until April when responsibility will be transferred to the next Estonian contingent, the Estonian Defense Forces announced.

Estonian troops are serving in the French military camp on the banks of river Niger since 2018. 

The aim of the French-led operation Barkhane is to support the fight of five Sahel region states (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) against terrorist groups. Operation Barkhane was initiated in 2014.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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