The ESTPLA-28 infantry platoon, currently serving in Mali as part of the French-led anti-insurgency operation Barkhane, patrolled the RN-16 main road west of the town of Gao on Thursday night.
The six-hour patrol took the platoon some 20 km out of the Gao base. According to spokespeople at the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), ESTPLA-28 then secured a position selected earlier and manned observation posts for one hour.
"The patrol was made difficult by the need to cross the Niger river at night, which required greater ability of the platoon to notice potential threats while crossing a narrow section of the river," the platoon's commander, Lt. Mart Voolaid, said.
The RN-16 main road is the only road linking Gao to the Mopti region south of the Niger River. It is also a direct road to the country's capital city of Bamako.
Less than a month is left of ESTPLA-28's time in Mali, after which the platoon will be replaced with ESTPLA-30, continuing Estonia's contribution to operation Barkhane.
Operation Barkhane is a French-led anti-insurgency mission in the Sahel region initiated in 2014. The objective of Barkhane is to support the governments of the Sahel countries of Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in their fight against Islamic terrorism, illegal migration and human trafficking.
Editor: Dario Cavegn