On 16 and 17 August, a delegation of the European mission EUCAP SAHEL Mali met with Malian officials and visited the proceedings of theMINUSMA/UNPOL mission and Barkhane Operation currently underway inGao, a city 1200 km north-east of Bamako.
The delegation, which included the European Gendarmerie Force’s Officers Colonel John VENEAU (EUCAP head of Operations), Lieutenant Colonel Franck GAGNIOU (EUCAP head of Training) and Colonel Jean-Frédéric SELLIER (MINUSMA Deputy Police Commissioner), set out in the lines of previous visits to other southern regional capitals with the purpose of learning the reality security forces face in the region, and proposing operational activities accordingly.
Understanding the real-live challenges and capacities of the Malian Police, Gendarmerie and Garde Nationale, will help in the preparation of future EUCAP deployments in support of MINUSMA/UNPOL activities in Gao regarding the training of various Malian law-enforcement institutions.
The EUCAP delegation met the Governor of Gao, local officials of the Malian Justice establishment, the local Chiefs of Security Forces, and representatives in charge of MINUSMA/UNPOL mission and Barkhane Operation.
During this meeting, the parties involved addressed the current security situation in the Gao region, the needs of local forces and the advisory and training activities EUCAP could provide for them in order to improve the professional capabilities of local police officers, with a preliminary focus on public order management, criminal investigations, forensics, human resources and operational management.
An all round agreement was reached about the long way ahead to guarantee the prevailing of law in this region, and consequently Malian Authorities expressed their views that future EUCAP contribution would be welcome in the area.
This reconnaissance trip to Gao was facilitated by the support of MINUSMA/UNPOL, which provided transportation by plane and secured mobility in Gao, and also by the French Barkhane Operation personnel, who took charge of accommodation and overnight protection within their camp.