AFISMA Head of Mission visits Northern Mali town of Kidal / Pays tribute to the four Chadian soldiers killed there in a suicide bomb attack last Friday
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 22, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission and Head of the African-led International Mission in Mali (AFISMA), former President Pierre Buyoya, accompanied by the Mission's Force Commander, Major General Abdul Kadir, yesterday, paid a working visit to Kidal, where four Chadian soldiers were killed in a suicide bomb attack on Friday, 12 April 2013. The Special Representative visited the site of the attack, in downtown Kidal, and paid tribute to the four fallen AFISMA soldiers.
In a meeting with the Commander of the Chadian contingent stationed in and around Kidal, General Omar Bikimo, the Special Representative thanked the troops for their hard work and commended the Chadian contingent for its critical role in liberating and securing Kidal. He extended the condolences of the AU and the entire continent to Chad and the families of the four soldiers killed, as well as to the families of the other 26 Chadian soldiers who have lost their lives in combat, since the Chadian contingent deployed in Northern Mali, in January 2013.
“General, I have come to Kidal with a message of appreciation and commendation to you and your troops for the excellent work you are doing here. Africa and the entire international community support you, and we shall do everything to make sure that you get the resources you need”, he said.
The Special representative further stated that AFISMA will continue doing its job and building its capacity, while key decisions are being made on its transformation into a UN mission. The Force Commander echoed the message of the Head of Mission, and promised that the AFISMA Force Headquarters will do all it can to meet the needs of all its troops.
The Commander of the Chadian contingent expressed the joy of his troops in welcoming the Mission's leadership to Kidal. In a briefing on the security situation in Kidal, General Omar Bikimo said that, though major combat operations had ended, the terrorists and other criminals were still pose a threat.
Chad has deployed over 2,000 troops as part of AFISMA, whose strength currently stands at more than 6,300 personnel.