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Czech soldiers join anti-terrorist fight in Malian hotel complex

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Prague/Bamako, June 19 (CTK) – Czech soldiers joined the fight against the terrorists who attacked a hotel complex near Bamako, Mali, on Sunday, and they also assisted in evacuating and rescuing people, Czech General Staff spokesman Jan Sulc told CTK today.

No Czech soldier was wounded in the fight.

According to previous information, the attackers killed at least two people in the Kangaba holiday resort.

Afterwards, four radicals were killed and about 36 hotel clients and staff were saved.

Sulc said two rapid reaction units consisting of Czech soldiers deployed in Mali, were sent to the hotel complex to help eliminate the terrorists.

“In cooperation with Malian armed forces and other units, they fulfilled tasks within the evacuation and rescuing of people from the attacked complex. They also provided first aid to those wounded and escort to ambulance vehicles,” Sulc said.

The Malian defence minister blamed the attack on unspecified radicals. He said special forces liberated about 20 hostages on Sunday. Apart from the Czechs, the intervening foreign forces were French soldiers and members of the U.N. MINUSMA mission.

Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) has confirmed the information about the Czech troops’ involvement.

This is another case of Czech active participation in fighting terrorism in this area, he tweeted.

“This and other similar events clearly prove the importance of our participation in foreign missions side by side with our allies, and the importance of fighting terrorism directly in the areas where it emerges,” Stropnicky added in a press release.

Chief-of-Staff Josef Becvar said the soldiers, whose main task is to protect the headquarters of the EU mission in Mali, showed a high level of professionalism and preparedness during the Sunday incident.

The core of the Czech unit are members of the 71st mechanised battalion from Hranice na Morave, north Moravia. Apart from protecting the headquarters, they are also tasked to provide escorts to V.I.Ps.

Other Czech officers in Mali train local soldiers.

A number of Islamist terrorist groups have been operating in Mali, where over 10,000 U.N. officers from various countries have been deployed since 2013.

Several dozens of Czech soldiers operate within the Malian mission under the aegis of the EU.

In the past, a Czech soldier eliminated a rebel who, supported by fellow gunmen, attacked the EU mission’s headquarters with an assault rifle and grenades.

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