“The job that our soldiers do on the ground is particularly dangerous despite all the precautions that are taken”General Dominique Trinquand, military expert, former head of the French military mission to the UN, reacted on franceinfo after the death of a French soldier in Mali as part of Operation Barkhane.
franceinfo: Are there renewed tensions in the region?
No. Unfortunately, we learn it every time in combat, war kills. I bow to the death of this soldier. The job that our soldiers do on the ground is particularly dangerous despite all the precautions that are taken. This commando in phase of recognition in the zone of the three borders fell on jihadists and unfortunately this soldier was killed. I understand the emotion of the President of the Republic because when you have awarded a medal you have the face in front of you of the one who has just disappeared.
What did this operation at the border between Mali and Burkina Faso consist of?
In this region of the three borders, it is there that the jihadists and in particular the movement resulting from Daesh which is in this region are rife. So France is putting particular pressure from the top of Pau. She killed a number of leaders of this movement but she continues to scour the ground in search of jihadist movements and she harasses them. This is the work that was done and probably during this meeting the master corporal was killed. This reminds us that it is a permanent job, a permanent harassment, to manage to make these jihadist movements totally unstable and to allow the armies of the region, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, to reinstall their positions in this region.
Since the installation of the junta in power in Bamako, has the French mission been more difficult?
What is more difficult is not the combat on the ground but the relationship with the government in Bamako. We heard it with the rumors about the installation of mercenaries in the region. The soldiers on the ground are fighting, they are doing their duty and they know that it is through the permanent pressure that they put on the jihadists that they will succeed in establishing a rule of law in this region.
What are the difficulties there?
Florence Parly went there to explain that it was out of the question for the government to make a deal with mercenaries. The CDAO did the same, the Americans say the same thing, the other Europeans say the same thing, so Mali will have to choose very quickly. Either reliable allies who fight alongside them, or mercenaries who go there for gain.