41 years ago, on February 4, 1976, a hostage rescue mission occurred in Loyada, a border village of the then French Territory of Afars and Issas (TFAI, formerly French Somaliland, Djibouti now). The base task of the mission was to save 31 French children, kidnapped by Somali rebels from the FLCS, a pan-Somali guerrilla organization. French Foreign Legion units and France’s GIGN took part in the successful mission.
On July 14, France celebrates its National Day, Bastille Day. Every year, a military parade takes place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. The French troops, including legionnaires from the French Foreign Legion, march down the street. In 2016, the Foreign Legion was represented, as usual, by the Foreign Legion Pioneers, being accompanied by the Foreign Legion Music Band. This year, 109 legionnaires from the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion (13e DBLE) also participated in the parade.
In June 2016, the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion (13e DBLE) of the French Foreign Legion left officially Zayed Military City near Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It had been stationed there for 5 years, since the summer of 2011. In late June 2016, the 13e DBLE was placed at Camp Larzac, southern France.
Since June 29, 2016, the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion (13e DBLE) of the French Foreign Legion has been officially based in mainland France, after 76 years. It left the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the reduced unit (about 60 permanent personnel) was stationed between 2011-16.
In February 1976 legionnaires of the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) and the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion (13e DBLE) were involved in the rescue of 31 children in Loayada, a village on the border between today’s Djibouti and Somalia. The children were kidnapped in Djibouti, capital of the then French Territory of Afars and Issas (TFAI, formerly French Somaliland, today’s Djibouti), by four rebels from the Somali Coast Liberation Front (Front de Libération de la Côte des Somalis, FLCS), a pan-Somali guerrilla organization created in the 1960s and supported by the Somali government.