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Mali: red sand, enemy of French soldiers


A threat weighs on the French soldiers, and against all expectations, it is of … natural origin. With the heat, the red sand of the desert causes enormous damage to the equipment. And on the soldiers too.

It is ocher, even red, light as dust: the sand of the Malian desert is encrusted everywhere. Every day, it is therefore necessary to clean and dust the equipment. “Every evening, my teams take part in cleaning all the vehicles,” explains Captain Romain, responsible for maintenance at the Gao military base in Mali.

And weapons of war are also concerned, while encrusted sand could be the cause of a faulty machine. In the repair shop, these are therefore regularly and carefully dismantled, then dusted, before being used by the soldiers.

But with the redeployment of the Barkhane force, the French army will gradually replace these infantry troops with groups of commandos, in order to directly target the terrorist leaders.