To strengthen its air arsenal against jihadist groups, Mali has acquired Bayraktar TB2 drones.Mali has joined the list of countries that have acquired Turkish Bayraktar (TB2) UAVs.
According to a press release read out on television, this equipment, presented to the Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Colonel Sadio Camara, during a trip to Mopti, “was acquired thanks to the partnership” between Ankara and Bamako.
The conditions of acquisition were not specified and the number of such aircraft is unknown, but it can be recalled that in 2019, Ukraine purchased a batch of six drones at $ 69 million.
In West Africa, Mali is the fifth country to acquire these unmanned aircraft from Turkish manufacturer Baykar.
Before it, Niger, Nigeria, Togo and recently Burkina Faso have used this type of latest-generation weaponry to effectively combat the jihadist groups that are scouring large swathes of their territories.
For Mali, it is a question of “reinforcing the air capability after the definitive withdrawal of French forces from Barkhane, against a background of diplomatic tension between Paris and Bamako.
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Less expensive than the American Reaper model used by the French army in several of its operations in the Sahel, the Bayraktar drone has proved its worth in recent conflicts in the Balkans, Europe, Ethiopia and Libya on the African continent.
However, their use in asymmetric warfare can be problematic in the absence of reliable field intelligence.
Last July, the Togolese army targeted teenagers they mistook for a column of jihadists.
Seven of them were killed by a TB2 drone strike.