Renewed: 11.12.2013, 15:56

10 December 2013 10:00

Mali armed forces unit completes Estonian-led training program

A 35-member unit of the Mali armed forces has become the first to complete a 10-week training program in Koulikoro led by six Estonian instructors.

The instructors' team, headed by Captain Jüri Tõnisma, also includes two Lithuanians and is supported by Mali officers and non-commissioned officers. The program's working language is English, but instructions are translated into French and Bambara, a regional language.

The Estonians' experience ranges from missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As part of the EU's effort to stabilize the country, which is in a conflict with Islamist rebels, the Estonians are providing assistance in a training, planning and consultation capacity, and are not participating in combat operations. They are based in a Nordic-Baltic training center, alongside Finnish, Swedish, Latvian and Lithuanian instructors. The EU mission involves roughly 500 members of armed forces from 22 countries.

Estonia has also deployed a staff officer and senior staff non-commissioned officer to the EU mission's headquarters in Bamako, the capital. Additionally, one Estonian DefenCe Forces member is serving in the UN peace-keeping mission MINUSMA.


Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at], Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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