Mali’s Army in a State of Emergency

Malian troops
Malian troops will be joined by ECOWAS forces

AFRICANGLOBE – Mali and Congolese forces have failed in their different missions to put down rebellions.

While the Mali army has been unable to defend the northern part of the country, leaving it in the hands of Arab terrorist invaders, the Congolese soldiers have taken to  their heels and left rebel forces to take Goma.

The Malian army once cut a disciplined image of a well-trained and well-equipped force. But its image as a model army was blown into smithereens under the shells of Tuareg traitors and their Arab allies.

Whilst Mali’s military units withstood the early hours of the conflict with extraordinary tenacity, a more organised enemy force in January, grouped into very proactive smaller mobile units, unsettled them.

Mali’s March 21 coup d’état led to a series of arrests of officers and eventually dislocated the hierarchy of its troops on the battlefield, with orders and counter-orders received via pirated communication channels.

By the end of March, the army had deserted all its positions, leaving behind entire stocks of arms, ammunition and vehicles.

Morale has slumped from the highest to the lowest-ranking soldier with all and sundry calling for an offensive to take back the north. 

Whilst morale is at an all time low, the military aviation sector is in shambles.

The 10 or so fighter-bomber (Mig-21) are far from being operational and at least two out of three combat helicopters (MI-24) are grounded.

At the same time, the question of the effectiveness of their pilots, with their inconsequential total of flight hours, remains to be answered.

Some time back, the infantry had about 50 reconnaissance vehicles (BRDM), 50 light armored vehicles (BTR-60) and tanks (PT-76 and T-55) from eastern Europe, but much of this arsenal is now unusable.

On December 4 Mali took stock of weapons under the command of Amadou Toumani Touré, but the arms shipment has been blocked at the port of Conakry.

“The army has been devitalised”, Colonel Sega Sissoko, the director general of the country’s military institutions told Jeune Afrique. ”

“The once prohibited nepotism and corruption have reached the army”.

 Neglected after the democratic revolution of 1991, the Malian army fell apart.

Today, it is impoverished.

Whilst the rank and file of the military – made up of idle soldiers and formerly unemployed university graduates – earn no more than a pittance another part of the hierarchy is gentrified, benefitting from the thriving illegal trafficking routes in the Sahel.

The experience of their officers trained in Algeria, Germany, France and the United States was not utilised.

At best, most of them were confined to administrative tasks, far from training facilities.

The integration of former Tuareg rebels after the signing of the National Pact in 1992 did not help either.

Following their transfer to their home-regions, the former rebels eventually set up baronies beyond the control of the central government.

As it stands, the question is whether there is a possibility of winning a war with troops that have no more confidence in their leaders.

 “The solution would be to entrust the command of the military units to respected men,” a senior Nigerian officer said.

Three names come up frequently: Colonels Dacko Didier, Mohamed Abderrahmane Ould Meydou and El Hadj Ag Gamou. These men’s capabilities are also recognised by the Arab enemy forces.