Monday, 7 May 2018

Czech soldier decorated for anti-terrorist action in Mali

12 January 2017

Prague, Jan 11 (CTK) - A Czech soldier received on Wednesday the Common Security and Defence Policy Medal for Extraordinary Meritorious Service as the first man for having disarmed a terrorist attacker in Mali last year, Ladislav Sekan, deputy head of the Czech Permanent Representation to the EU, told CTK on Wednesday.

Sergeant C. H., from the 44th light motorised battalion, was awarded for his act of March 21, 2016.

Along with other troops, he defended the hotel in Bamako in which the command of the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) is seated. Czech troops are in charge of its protection.

The attack was performed by a group of gunmen. A man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle and grenades directly assaulted the hotel.

Mission commander Werner Albl said the Czech sergeant had prepared a machine gun for shooting, observed the situation and specified the information with the rest of those present.

As soon as one of the attackers started shooting at the mission members who were outside the hotel, sergeant C. H. immediately reacted and started combat activity by returning the fire, Albl said.

Thanks to his swift and decisive reaction, the assailant was neutralised before he was able to injure or kill anyone from the civilian or military personnel of the mission, he added.

The sergeant said he had to proceed with maximum caution, Sekan said.

"When shooting, he tried not to threaten members of the other unit by the ricochet. They were in a guard-room of the entry gate in which the attacker was in hiding," he added.

The medal was bestowed on C. H. by EU foreign minister Federica Mogherini and it was handed to the sergeant by Esa Pulkkinen, director general of the European Union Military Staff, at a ceremony.

The medal is the highest sign of respect for the military and civilian personnel who show exceptional bravery in an EU mission.

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