Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09BAMAKO815, CLOSING CEREMONY OF JCET TRAINING OF MALIAN ARMY

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09BAMAKO815.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09BAMAKO815 2009-12-17 15:03 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET Embassy Bamako
VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBP #0815/01 3511536
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 171536Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BAMAKO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0973
INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS IMMEDIATE 0705
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY IMMEDIATE 0349
RUEHNK/AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT IMMEDIATE 0304
RUEHOU/AMEMBASSY OUAGADOUGOU IMMEDIATE 0302
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0535
RUEHAAA/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T BAMAKO 000815 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/16/2019 
TAGS: MARR ML PREL PTER
SUBJECT: CLOSING CEREMONY OF JCET TRAINING OF MALIAN ARMY 
ETIA 4 IN GAO 

REF: BAMAKO 813 

Classified By: Ambassador Gillian A. Milovanovic, for reasons 1.4 (b) ( 
d). 


1. (S) On December 11 the DCM and DATT participated in the 
graduation ceremony of a Joint Combined Exchange Training 
(JCET) exercise of the Malian Army Echelon Tactique Interarme 
(ETIA) 4, in Gao. ETIA 4 is based in Timbuktu. The 10th 
Army Special Forces Group out of Fort Carson, Colorado, and 
led by Captain XXXXXXXXXXXX and Master Sergeant 
XXXXXXXXXXXX, conducted the JCET. Overall,
 XXXXXXXXXXXX said the  approximately 160 
men learned a lot over the five week 
training exercise. The exercise was shorter than planned in 
the wake of a hostage taking incident in Mali which led to a 
change in THREATCON and the US military-ordered temporary 
suspension of training while the JCET team was temporarily 
restricted to its quarters. 

2. (S) The Governor of Gao region, Colonel XXXXXXXXXXXX, 
presided over the JCET graduation and thanked the U.S. 
Government for its commitment to helping Mali defend itself. 
Noting that he had served as military commander of the 
Timbuktu region during the time of the Tuareg rebellion, he 
exhorted ETIA 4 to apply what it had learned in the course of 
the training. A product of numerous IMET training 
opportunities in the United States and recently returned from 
a five year tour in Addis Ababa as Mali,s military attach, 
XXXXXXXXXXXX displayed an unfortunate lack of respect for the 
common soldiers who are being asked to lead the fight against 
AQIM. He distractedly waved on the many troops who stood at 
attention before him after receiving their graduation 
certificates, leaving the DATT to return their salutes. 

3. (S) When the DCM asked him about the security 
situation in Gao, XXXXXXXXXXXX said
 he viewed the kidnapping of  French citizen
 Pierre Cammatte as a worrisome escalation, as 
AQIM had until now refrained from taking hostages on Malian 
soil. Nevertheless, he minimized the risk, saying that 
although many had left, there were still quite a few French 
and other European nationals working in Gao Region. He did 
not reiterate his September 23 request to the Ambassador for 
more development assistance. 

4. (S) After the ceremony XXXXXXXXXXXX called over one, 
rather unimpressive soldier, an older, rail thin man with a 
scraggly beard and bloodshot eyes who had been lounging 
against a motorbike in a dirty T-shirt inside of a warehouse. 
He explained that in spite of appearances, this was one of 
the ETIA's best men, noting that he had been one of the few 
survivors of a July 4 ambush of a Malian Army patrol by Al 
Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (see IIR 6 958 0087 09). When 
asked how the training had gone, the soldier said if he had 
known at the time of the ambush what he had learned over the 
course of the JCET, it never would have happened. He cited 
in particular learning why and how to establish a mobile 
patrol post, digging and manning foxholes which afford 360 
degree, round-the-clock protection from potential assailants. 
The soldier said the Salafists would never confront the Army 
head-on, and if the Army engaged, they would flee, but if 
there is not proper security, they will creep back and murder 
you in the most cruel, unimaginable ways. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that the ETIA had done 
simulation exercises to defend, for 
example, the recovery of a broken down vehicle. 

5. (S) The commander of ETIA 4, a major, also spoke 
highly of the training. He noted that he had already reached 
the end of his six month rotation, but had been extended so 
as to be able to lead participation in the JCET. He said he 
does not want to leave his men, and spoke about the logic of 
having a longer tour so as to develop skills over time and to 
build on training rather than starting from the beginning 
each time there is an opportunity for a JCET or other 
training. Nevertheless, it was evident from the preponderant 
number of black African faces in the ranks that most of ETIA 
4 was not from the North, and service in the North will 
clearly be a significant hardship on them and their families, 
most of whom live in the South. 

6. (S) XXXXXXXXXXXX said that each soldier had expended some 
1,000 rounds of ammunition during the course of the training. 
Although a U.S. Special Forces soldier might expend that 

much in a day of training, he noted that a number of the 
Malian soldiers said it was probably more than they had used 
in their entire careers. He said the JCET had revealed, and 
made an effort to correct, some simple lacunae. For example, 
when the survivors of the July 4 ambush were asked why they 
had left behind so many vehicles to be captured by AQIM, they 
said the drivers had been killed and no one else in the unit 
knew how to drive. When asked why they had not used a heavy 
machine gun, they answered that the gunner who knew how to 
operate the weapon had also been killed, and he was the only 
one who knew what to do. Although it detracted from their 
initial training objective, the U.S. trainers taught everyone 
in the ETIA to drive and to fire and maintain all of their 
weapons systems. 

7. (S) When asked from a non-scientific perspective to 
rate ETIA 4 with other comparable army units,
 XXXXXXXXXXXX said that, based on 
conversations with the Officer in Charge of 
the September 2009 training of ETIA 1 (Bamako 538), he 
believes that ETIA 4's capabilities are better overall. On a 
scale of 1 to 10 compared to other forces in Africa and the 
Middle East, including Iraqi Army regulars, ETIA 4 ranks 
about 6 out of 10. This compares to Algerian Army regulars 
that he ranked about 7 or 8. XXXXXXXXXXXX said that, with 
maintenance of the skills they had learned during the JCET 
and additional, follow-up training, ETIA 4 could easily 
improve. 

8. (S) The JCET moved on December 7-8 to Amakouladji, a 
town approximately 35 kilometers north of Gao on the road to 
Bourem. There, they conducted a live fire exercise with 
rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at a firing range 
XXXXXXXXXXXX said was safe and well-suited to simulate geographic 
conditions in the North. In the town itself, they 
distributed supplies to some 240 grateful primary school 
students and vaccinated 250 farm animals. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX and several of his men said they
 had seen no/no evidence of AQIM 
surveillance or activity during the course of the five week 
JCET. 

9. (S) Although the JCET was an overall success, it was 
not without problems. The 14 Landcruisers designated for 
ETIA 4, that were part of the 37 the Ambassador handed over 
to the Minister of Defense on October 20, did not show up in 
Gao until the last week of the training. While the vehicles, 
five equipped with Harris HF radios, are with the unit now, 
and will move with the ETIA 4 back to Timbuktu, the hand held 
radios that should also have been part of the ETIA 4 vehicle 
allocation had not yet arrived. Only about two thirds of 
the 160-strong unit were wearing the boots and desert 
fatigues provided by the United States, but additional boots 
and other equipment arrived on the CASA 212 flight from 
Bamako the day of the ceremony. XXXXXXXXXXXX also said that the 
Gao base commander had initially tried to keep him out of a 
warehouse which stored replacement gun barrels and other 
parts. He was told that the materiel was being held in 
reserve, but he overcame the base commander's objections and 
succeeded in procuring what was needed to replace broken or 
missing equipment held by the ETIA. 
XXXXXXXXXXXX was asked to make that part of his 
report, as the Ambassador had raised 
the problem with President Amadou Toumani Toure in September 
(Bamako 619). 

MILOVANOVIC