On May 14, during Operation Kounama 3 taking place in the Salvador Pass of northern Niger (Sahara Desert, North Africa), the legionnaires from the French Foreign Legion’s 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) seized 1,5 tons of drugs moved by rebels cooperating with regional, mostly Libyan extremists.
During the operation of the 14th May, two rebel pick-ups were observed. After a serious firefight, three rebels were killed, three taken prisoners. Several Kalashnikov arms, two PK machine guns and the 1,5 tons of drugs were seized.
The legionnaires from the 1st Company of 2e REP, after they jumped over the Salvador Pass in the night of May 9, they operated in the area to search and eliminate individuals or groups conducting the drug & arms trafficking through the Sahara desert in this land of nowhere. According to French officials, the trafficking conducting in the Salvador Pass helps support extremist and terrorist groups in North Africa, mainly those based in Libya.
The Salvador Pass is an important crossroads in the heart of the Sahara, near the Niger’s border with Libya and Algeria.
For the 2e REP legionnaires, having been based at the FOB base of Madama, northern Niger since January, this operation was the second airborn operation conducted in the Salvador Pass. For the first time, the 1st Company of 2e REP jumped over Salvador Pass in early April 2015. In both operations, the legionnaires were supported by French cavalry (the hussars from 1er RHP) and around 50 Nigerien troops.
French Ministry of Defense
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