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EDF support personnel practice cooperation with French troops in Mali

Estonian and French engineers replacing the engine of an armoured personnel carrier, Gao, Mali, September 2018.
Estonian and French engineers replacing the engine of an armoured personnel carrier, Gao, Mali, September 2018. Source: Mil.ee

Estonian and French support personnel replaced the engine of an armoured personnel carrier as part of a joint exercise at the Gao military base. The Estonian contingent is serving as part of French-led anti-terror operation Barkhane in Mali.

The exercise included the replacement of the Engine of an Estonian Pasi XA-188 armoured personnel carrier vehicle, the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) said on Thursday.

The EDF's ESTPLA-26 infantry unit in Mali has to work with other allied troops in many of its activities, as taking all of the usual equipment from Estonia to Mali made little sense considering the resources available on site.

This means that plenty of the resources of Barkhane that the EDF personnel are using in Mali, including heavy special equipment and fuel, are not brought in by the EDF themselves.

The job of the local support personnel is to equip all troops participating in the operation with the tools they need, and keep vehicles and the like up and running, including providing and ordering spare parts and other supplies. In addition to a machine technician, the Estonian contingent also includes an arms technician, a communications expert, a medic and a quartermaster.

The EDF will continue to participate in Barkhane until December this year. ESTPLA-26 was deployed to Mali in August this year following an agreement on closer military cooperation between Estonia and France.

Operation Barkhane is a French-led anti-terror mission in Africa's Sahel region, backing up the security forces of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Mauritania.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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