France Ministry of Defence, June 28, 2019 - MALI - Between June 07 to 19, the air assets of the Barkhane force were widely used in the framework of the ACONIT major operation conducted by French troops on the ground and in partnership with the Malian and Nigerian Armed Forces at the Mali-Nigeria border.
Intelligence, tactical transport and logistics, targeted strikes: the missions of the air combat component were numerous throughout the operation to obtain a significant neutralization effect on the armed terrorist groups (GAT).
The night of June 13 to 14 in particular, emphasized this surplus value. On June 13 at 9:00 pm, following intelligence provided by the Nigerian armed forces, the Desert Air Combat Battle Group (GTD-A) "HOMBORI 22" was tasked with recognizing a suspicious terrorist assembly zone in a forested area of the Azabara region in Mali. A powerful air combat task force comprising reconnaissance, attack, maneuver and assault helicopters with the commando group was engaged to recognize and neutralize any terrorists in this area.
With an initial threat estimated in about 10 combatants, the GTD-A was confronted with more than thirty individuals divided into several groups. With support of the Tiger attack helicopter the force come into action. At the end of the clash which lasted more than fifteen hours, the opponent was neutralized. For the leader of the GTD-A, Barkhane's elements were "confronted by a trained, experienced, well-equipped enemy, who sought to fight at a very short distance."
Led by the French Army and in partnership with the G5 Sahel countries, Operation Barkhane was launched on August 1, 2014. It is based on a strategic approach of partnership with the main countries of the Sahel-Saharan strip (BSS): Burkina-Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad. It has around 4,500 military members whose mission is to fight against armed terrorist groups and to support the armed forces of partner countries so that they can take this threat into account.