On 30 June 2017, Colonel John VENEAU (French Gendarmerie) is leaving the EUCAP Sahel Mali mission, after three years of non-stop participation in it. Colonel VENEAU first took part in the fact-finding mission in 2013, just to move on to become Chief of Operations of the Mission and Coordinator of the European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR). He expressed his vision and experience in the mission in a parting speech:
“It has been a tremendous endeavor to be part of this Mission, beginning with the fact finding mission from March to October 2013, the being part of the planning team, to prepare the deployment of the core team, to identify and ultimately launch and develop all operational activities – in cooperation with our Malian and other international partners.
Since 2014, the Mission has grown up very fast, achieved a lot, but it faces new challenges every day.
On one hand indeed, the Mission was rapidly able to deliver its mandate in carrying out its training and advisory programs and lots of projects with all three Internal Security Forces (ISF) – the National Police, the Gendarmerie and the Garde nationale as scheduled. So much has been done!
But on the other hand, several aspects of our support to the Security Sector Reform (SSR) couldn’t be developed yet, as the precondition for SSR are not in place… So much is still to be done!
It was a great experience to manage and coordinate all these operational activities with the support of all other departments of the Mission, as well as the support of the CPCC HQ in Brussels. It was also a delight to witness and report to the EGF PHQ in Vicenza the enlargement of all these activities toward new domains such as counter terrorism and border security and toward the regional capitals in the south at first and nowadays in the center region of Mali.
This will be part of the forthcoming challenges of the Mission, to support the Governors and officials from the ISF in Mopti and Segou, in the implementation of the integrated security plan for the Centre Region (PSIRC).
In the months to come, more Ops personal will be deployed to the new positions opened in the counter-terrorism advisory team and in the training section, as the Deployment Plan for 2017 has a ceiling of 58 positions within the Ops Department, while the Mission could reach 130 international staff.
I wish them all, together with their new Chief of Operation, plenty of success in their ongoing and future tasks within the EUCAP Sahel Mali Mission!”
Colonel John VENEAU