Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Belgian helicopters fly to Mali

The two helicopters Agusta A109 medicalized version that Belgium has put at the disposal of France for its operation in Mali Serval expected to leave Tuesday afternoon - a day late - the military airport of Melsbroek to Bamako. They should arrive Wednesday and be "operational almost immediately," assured a spokesman of Defence.

They will be carried with a transport aircraft chartered from the company Volga-Dnepr, an Ilyushin Il-76 Russian-built that embark in the morning.

The staff implement - forty people - is already gone in two waves, the most important left Brussels on Sunday to a place intermediate Lomé, Togo's capital, on board the Airbus A330 leased by the Defence. The plane also carried the necessary equipment for the mission of these two helicopters.

In the absence of a formal request from France to engage more in northern Mali, these devices, including a reserve should - at least initially - to remain based in Bamako.

An interdepartmental working group that would look Monday morning on the question of a possible deployment of helicopters "to the north" has not taken any decision, according to a government source informed.

The initial decision of the Ministerial Council and restricted cabinet indeed provided a parking lot "secured area". But the French army would these helicopters, which are used to route possible casualties to a hospital or surgical unit, are "behind the front, but not too far." For the meantime, the front line has moved away several hundred kilometers from Bamako.

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