2e REI: Task Force Dragon in April 2020

In April 2020, 600 legionnaires from the 2nd Foreign Infantry Regiment (2e REI) continue to search and neutralize the Terrorist Armed Groups (GAT) in the remote three-border region of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, in the Sahel area of Africa.

From April 2 to 5, the 2e REI-formed GTD (Desert Task Force) “Dragon” conducted an operation along the Niger River, in the region of ​​the three borders. This operation alternated between offensive reconnaissance, zone controls, infiltration and ambushes, as well as numerous sweeps in an abrasive environment, both for men and equipment. The objectives are multiple: disorganize the logistics flows of armed terrorist groups (GAT), surprise them in remote areas, but also help reassure local populations.

The day before departure, during the briefing to his soldiers, Captain Jordan (currently, the French Army’s regulation call officers and soldiers only by their first name), commander of one of the tactical subgroups (SGTD, a company-sized unit) engaged in the operation, stressed both the importance of being vigilant and the difficulty of the terrain:

“In case of doubt or the discovery of suspicious indications, do not hesitate to request the intervention of the engineering team. We must also be attentive to the practicability of the terrain on which we will evolve because the success of this operation depends on our mobility and our discretion.”

The operation began on April 2 with an offensive reconnaissance towards Ansongo, a small town in the Gao Region of eastern Mali, lying on the left bank of the Niger River. The SGTD then operated in areas that were difficult to reach by vehicle:

“It was a question of harassing Terrorist Armed Groups (GAT) even in hard-to-reach areas where they thought they could take refuge,” said Captain Jordan.

During the operation, Lieutenant Joseph’s platoon scoured several wadis (valleys in sub-Sahar Africa) being characteristic to protect enemy logistics posts from hot weather. The legionnaires carried out a close scouring of the area.

“I adapted the deployment of the platoon as soon as the vegetation became denser so that every corner was recognized,” said the platoon leader.

“When we approach an area to search it on foot, we are always very vigilant with regard to anything that may be suspicious to us. You have to be amazed at what we are observing,” said Sergeant Rado, an ERYX group leader. “It was indeed a real operation of landed infantrymen. Our action was combined with those of another SGTD which operated on the other side of the Niger.”

The captain and his legionnaires demonstrated their presence among the populations, and helped to disrupt the supply of armed terrorist groups in remote areas. Operation Barkhane’s forces continue their action on the ground and in the air against the GAT, in particular the Islamic State in the great Sahara, in the area of ​​the three borders.

France has about 5,100 soldiers currently deployed in the Sahel region to participate in Operation Barkhane.

Foreign Legion - 2e REI - 2 REI - 2020 - Task Force Dragon - Sahel

Foreign Legion - 2e REI - 2 REI - 2020 - Task Force Dragon - Sahel

Foreign Legion - 2e REI - 2 REI - 2020 - Task Force Dragon - Sahel

Foreign Legion - 2e REI - 2 REI - 2020 - Task Force Dragon - Sahel


Source/Photo credits: Defense.gouv.frEcpad.fr


Related posts:
2020 Operation Monclar in the Sahel
2e REI: 750 legionnaires to deploy overseas
2e REP: A South African fighting in Mali
1er REC: Neutralisation of two terrorists during Operation Barkhane in Mali