The crashed helicopter was together with another Dutch Apache over uninhabited terrain doing a shooting exercise with ground targets. The fellow fliers landed directly and provided first aid. Zaben had died. Mahadevan was seriously injured and was transferred to a French military hospital in Gao. He died there from his injuries.
[March 6 Francafrique’s Operation Liza]
150305-Operation Liza: current situation
In Mali, a sixth group tactics combined (GTIA) Malian, bearing the name of “Al Farouk”, completed on 21 February EUTM Mali training mission. The mission of the European Union, with sixty french military, has formed five Malian battalions which bear the symbolic or totemic names, centered in five military regions . All these battalions have been, at one time or another, deployed in operations.
Operation Liza has gathered 3 000 troops whose mission, in partnership with the countries of the Sahel G5[Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso ], is to combat terrorist armed groups that can act in the Sahel-Saharan Strip.
[June 7 2003 Francois Hollande wins UNESCO peace prize]
Hollande has promised to put an end to “Francafrique” – a term used to describe the political, economic, and military relationship between France and its former African colonies, that Paris long used to insure its sphere of influence on the continent.more
Through last week, Air Force C17 Globemasters had flown 47 missions to Mali, ferrying 975 French troops and more than 1,200 tons of equipment and supplies to the fight against Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb rebels for control of northern Mali, according to Defense Department figures.
The Air Force had also flown 83 refueling missions delivering more than 544,000 gallons of gas to French Rafale and Mirage attack aircraft in close air support of French and Chad troops.
The elite Chadian unit fighting in Mali was trained by U.S. special operations forces who have been working in Chad, Chadian and U.S. officials said this weekend
The United States will increase its forces in Niger to 100, with 40 arriving February 21. The 40 troops were almost all Air Force personnel and that their mission was to support drone flights.
In a written statement provided to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez, who is poised to become the next leader of the Pentagon’s Africa Command, estimated that the U.S. military needs to increase its intelligence-gathering and spying missions in Africa by nearly 15-fold.
“I believe additional intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities are necessary to protect American interests and assist our close allies and partners,” he wrote in the statement, which was released Thursday during his confirmation hearing. ”The recent crises in North Africa demonstrate the volatility of the African security environment.”
The United States and Niger signed a status of forces agreement Monday, which will provide legal safeguards for any American forces in the country. The Pentagon secures such agreements for base arrangements or troop deployments. U.S. officials said discussions with Niger on a drone base were at an early stage. The immediate impetus for a drone base in the region is to provide surveillance assistance to the French-led operation in Mali. “This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for I.S.R.,” one American military official said Sunday, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
A handful of unarmed Predator drones would carry out surveillance missions in the region and fill a desperate need for more detailed information on a range of regional threats, including militants in Mali and the unabated flow of fighters and weapons from Libya. American military commanders and intelligence analysts complain that such information has been sorely lacking.
According to current and former American government officials, as well as classified government cables made public by the group WikiLeaks, the surveillance missions flown by American turboprop planes in northern Mali have had only a limited effect.