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5th EUTM-Mali (European Union Training Mission in Mali)

Members of the 29th Regiment “Isabel la Católica” – part of the 7th Light Infantry Regiment “Galicia” and known as 29th RIL by its Spanish acronym – were deployed in November 2014 as part of the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM-Mali). They faced the challenge “with optimism and enthusiasm.”

Ten officers and NCOs of the Artillery Group and 29th RIL were charged with training soldiers of the Malian Armed Forces at the military base in Koulikoro, around 60 km north of the capital, Bamako.

The instructors were supported by an 80-strong Protection Force, mainly from the 2nd Battalion Company “Zamora” but also including members of the Light Sappers Battalion and the HQ Battalion.

It was the first time those troops were deployed in Africa, but most already had experience in international missions. Such was the case of Sergeant Roberto García, who was previously deployed in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq and highlighted the importance of “escorting and force protection exercises” as part of the training.

For his part Lieutenant José Antonio Nieto, Support Section chief in the Protection Force, served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He explained that this mission was different from the previous ones and his training for it had involved “the most up-to-date techniques.” His vital contribution as part of the Protection Force made it possible for the instructors to carry out their task.