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Estonian troops participating Operation Barkhane received French deployment medals

Members of Estonian contingent BKN-10 that has served in Mali for the past four months were awarded French deployment medals at a ceremony held in Gao, Mali yesterday. Additionally the outgoing Senior National Representative (SNR) Major Rauno Viitmann handed over responsibility to incoming SNR Major Rauno Vahimets.

„The past six months as Senior National Representative were challenging but as well productive,“ said Major Rauno Viitmann. „Estonian units that served here during that time did their job well and I am one hundred percent sure that the new SNR and contingent will continue keeping their standards high“.

The French overseas deployment medal (Medaille d’Outre-Mer) is issued to troops for participating in operations outside of French territory since 1962. Areas of service are indicated by a clasp that will be attached to the medal. Medals issued to Estonian service members have the clasp Sahel, which indicates to a respective area in Africa.

“Members of the current contingent, led by Major Viitmann, have done a great job which we are honored to continue,“ said the new SNR Major Rauno Vahimets. „We will do our best to keep our standards and professionalism high.”

50 Estonian service members, that received the medals, have served in Mali since August this year. Main tasks of the unit are manning gates and observation posts of Gao military base, forming the quick reaction force (QRF) and patrolling in and around the city of Gao.

Estonian troops are serving in the French military camp on the banks of river Niger since 2018.

The aim of the French-led operation Barkhane is to support the fight of five Sahel region states (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad) against terrorist groups. Operation Barkhane was initiated on August 1, 2014.


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