Mauritanian National Army Conducts Drills Near Southeastern Border with Mali

The Commander of the Mauritanian National Armed Forces announced in a statement on Sunday the onset of a series of military drills near the country’s border with Mali to “[ensure] Commanders and Soldiers [are] constantly vigilant and prepared to deal decisively with various types of threats that may arise from the state of instability that the region is experiencing.”

What You Need to Know:

In addition to the drills, Lieutenant General Mokhtar Bellah Shaaban conducted inspections of the living conditions of civilians located in the southeastern border region during which medicines were distributed and medical examinations carried out. A series of live-fire drills were also conducted.

“Within the framework of testing combat capabilities, Lieutenant General Commander of the General Staff of the Armed Forces supervised a successful tactical exercise, to test cooperation and coordination of various types of weapons during the course of the battle, where aviation, artillery, and special forces participated in destroying a hypothetical enemy who attempted to infiltrate the national territory for the purpose of carrying out an aggressive act. The aforementioned exercise was accompanied by a trial shooting, to test the effectiveness of the 107 missile launcher system, belonging to the artillery force. This type of missile is characterized by its mobility, high fire density, and rapid firing rate and is capable of destroying enemy positions in difficult fields,” the Army said in a statement.

The Army also announced the successful firing of 122mm Howitzer heavy artillery batteries, claiming, “during combat, this weapon is responsible for destroying the enemy’s rear and front positions, in addition to its fortifications and transmission sites.”

The Details:

This latest exercise is the first the Mauritanian Army has held in several years and is likely linked to incursions by the Malian army into the Mauritanian border village of Fassala last month.

The Malian Army, headed by Assimi Goita, who took power from President Bah N’daw through a 2021 coup, claimed the army was pursuing Azawad militants when they crossed into Mauritanian territory.

In addition to Azawad militants, who are affiliated with Tuareg separatists, al-Qaeda is also active in the border zones of the two nations. However, Mali’s increasing cooperation with Russian private military personnel such as Wagner has inflamed tensions. In 2019, Mauritania held its first democratic elections after a prolonged period of military rule. The country also receives security assistance through its membership in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership with the United States.

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.

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