BLUE HELMETS ON PATROL: A MONTH OF PRESENCE BETWEEN GAO AND TASSIGA TO REASSURE THE POPULATION
The Long-Range Reconnaissance Task Group of MINUSMA British contingent has carried out a continuous physical presence for 28 days from Gao to Tassiga, on a mission to protect civilians in this area, which has seen numerous security incidents.
From Gao to Tassiga via Ansongo, the British contingent of MINUSMA, progressed over 1,200 km, maintaining permanent contact with the Malian armed forces (FAMA). A collaboration appreciated by the Malian side: "The collaboration between MINUSMA and the FAMa is at its best. The British contingent, deployed in this sector for day and night patrols, gives a breath of life to its populations. We hope that this collaboration, which is characterised by the exchange of information and the securing of the population, will continue, because we are achieving good results against the enemies of peace," explained Lieutenant Lassine Z. CAMARA, , Head of FAMa detachment in Ansongo.
Accompanied by a team from MINUSMA Communications Division, the deployed British Contingent Peacekeepers spoke to communities in these villages to learn more about their concerns. "We are conducting this long-range patrol to provide security, understand the security concerns of the people, explain the mandate, how we can help protect them and how we support the Malian defence and security forces through the mandate," explained Major Jamie Powell, Commander of B Company, 2nd Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment, deployed as part of the Long-Range Reconnaissance Task Group.
"Thanks to the presence of MINUSMA in the area, we have not recorded any cases of robbery or theft for more than two weeks now," said a resident of a village between Ansongo and Tassiga.
To protect the village from possible reprisals, Major Powell decided to spend an extra night there, to wait for the FAMa anti-terrorist force that arrived the next day to leave a detachment before continuing on to another village where the patrol had observed suspicious activity.
“Through this long patrol, we hoped to reassure the population who had decided to close schools, markets, etc. out of fear," concluded Major Powell.”