AQ Raid on Malian Army Checkpoint: A Rare Glimpse of Combat in Africa

first published on August 28, 2017 by

A rare glimpse of the lingering insurgency and its brutal combat in Mali. Al-Qaeda Militants raid and overrun a Malian Army checkpoint – Just one of many attacks this year that continue to plague the African nation.

The war in Mali began in early 2012, with Islamist insurgents sweeping down from the north, capturing territory and overwhelming the weak and coup-happy military. After a string of Malian military disasters, the French government, among several other nations would answer pleas for international aid in January 2013. Responding with troops, the international force would spearhead Malian army operations, quickly regaining the captured territory.

Predictably, the surviving militants retreated deep into the vast desert safe havens of Mali. Slowly growing an insurgency over the last few years and aided by deep Al-Qaida connections; 2017 has seen a rash of attacks in Mali and recently, they have spilled into neighboring Burkina Faso.

Malian Army

This video purportedly shows a small group of Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Mali, Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimeen (NIM) raiding a very poorly defended checkpoint somewhere in the harsh Malian desert. The militants speedily drive up on the checkpoint in a thin-skinned pick-up, completely surprising the ill-disciplined Malian troops. Killing several soldiers outright, they quickly dismount the truck and begin suppressing the rear of the checkpoint. They drive the Malian soldiers back, and capture a hesco position with an armored vehicle. Continuing their suppression to the rear, they grab a few weapons and somewhat lazily load back in the truck before driving off.

Static positions are always vulnerable. These vulnerabilities quickly multiply when they are manned by poorly-lead and ill-disciplined troops. The AQ militants attacked in an unarmored vehicle, from a likely avenue of approach. Had the Malian army position been manned and defended properly, a sentry with a crew served weapon would have made short work of the small raiding force. Instead, at least several of these troops pay for this deadly, yet preventable mistake.