The bulk of the SAF contingent from EUTM Mali repatriated
On Wednesday, 15 April, the majority of the 14th Slovenian Armed Forces (SAF) contingent, operating in the European Union's Training Mission in Mali, returned to Slovenia. At the beginning of the month, the leadership of the mission, with the agreement of all participating countries, decided to suspend all forms of training and focus on restricting the spread of coronavirus on the mission. Preventive and safeguard measures have been taken, including the temporary return of the majority of contingents to their homelands. Two members of the Slovenian Armed Forces remain in Mali to oversee the maintenance of equipment and vehicles.
Prior to the introduction of safety measures, the Slovenian military contingent performed the tasks of organizing, advising and training Malian Armed Forces in the area of responsibility. Thus, the deployed members of the Slovenian Armed Forces supported the basic mission of EUTM Mali, namely the restoration of the capabilities of the local armed and security forces to enable them to independently preserve Mali's territorial integrity and protect its population in the future.
Due to the turbulent and unstable environment, 27 European countries contribute a total of about 750 members to the EUTM Mali’s area of responsibility. The Slovenian contingent includes eight members. Seven members work at the Educational and Training Task Force (ETTF) in Koulikoro, and one member works at the Mission Force Headquarters in Bamako. The Slovenian military contingent provides the training of members of the Malian Armed Forces in two ways, i.e. centralized training at the ETTF in Koulikoro and decentralized training at various locations around Mali. At the ETTF and at nearby training areas, courses are conducted according to the needs of the Malian Armed Forces, while in other locations (mainly regional commands of the Malian Armed Forces) they advise members of the commands and train their platoon- and company-level units. All training topics are based on infantry tactics, infantry weapons, engineering, medicine, communications, as well as international humanitarian law, international law of armed conflict, and leadership.
On 6 February 2013, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia decided to deploy members of the Slovenian Armed Forces to EUTM Mali with the possibility of rotation. The first member of the Slovenian Armed Forces was deployed on 19 March 2013.