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RTS2MDDP
French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
Efforts led by France to stop a region on Europe's doorstep becoming a launchpad for attacks at home are increasingly trapped in an endless cat-and-mouse game with well-armed jihadists, who know the terrain and hide easily among civilians.

On a rare reporting trip with the French troops into central Mali, Reuters journalists saw first-hand why a five-year-old mission -- initially planned as a short-term stopgap to hand over to local forces -- may have many more years left to run.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8R
August 13, 2019
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment searches a man during an area control operation...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment searches a man during an area control operation in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8D
August 13, 2019
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment conducts an area control operation in the Gourma...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment conducts an area control operation in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8N
August 13, 2019
French soldiers patrol in an all-terrain armoured vehicle BvS10 produced by BAE Systems in the Gourma...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
French soldiers patrol in an all-terrain armoured vehicle BvS10 produced by BAE Systems in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8I
August 13, 2019
Commander David, a French soldier of the Barkhane Force, talks with Almedi Ag Agissa, a vegetable grower...
GOSSI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
Commander David, a French soldier of the Barkhane Force, talks with Almedi Ag Agissa, a vegetable grower who benefitted from a small aid project to build a communal tool shed, as he conducts a Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) patrol during Operation Barkhane in Gossi, Mali, July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7Z
August 13, 2019
Local women and children arrive at an abandoned clinic to receive medical care from the French military...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
Local women and children arrive at an abandoned clinic to receive medical care from the French military during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC80
August 13, 2019
French soldiers of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) set up a temporary forward operating base...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
French soldiers of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) set up a temporary forward operating base (TFOB) for the night in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7M
August 13, 2019
Colonel Nicolas James, Commander of Desert Tactical Croup "Belleface", poses for a photo at the Operational...
Gao, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
Colonel Nicolas James, Commander of Desert Tactical Croup "Belleface", poses for a photo at the Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) during the Operation Barkhane in Gao, Mali, August 1, 2019. "We have a dogged adversary, who is tough, drawing from a breeding ground that is favourable to him because the population is isolated," he said. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier. SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC87
August 13, 2019
French soldiers of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment search a metal case during an area control operation...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
French soldiers of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment search a metal case during an area control operation in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8B
August 13, 2019
Military clothes are found during an area control operation carried out by French soldiers of the "Belleface"...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
Military clothes are found during an area control operation carried out by French soldiers of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8F
August 13, 2019
French soldiers of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) try to move an all terrain armoured vehicle...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
French soldiers of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) try to move an all terrain armoured vehicle BvS10 produced by BAE Systems from the mud in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC83
August 13, 2019
Military police unit Captain Balassine invites locals to come for a free health check-up during Operation...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
Military police unit Captain Balassine invites locals to come for a free health check-up during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8L
August 13, 2019
An NH90 Caiman military helicopter lands next to a temporary forward operating base (TFOB) during Operation...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
An NH90 Caiman military helicopter lands next to a temporary forward operating base (TFOB) during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8P
August 13, 2019
A young Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) soldier poses for a photo during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali,...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A young Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) soldier poses for a photo during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC88
August 13, 2019
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment uses an explosive detection kit in the Gourma region...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment uses an explosive detection kit in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC89
August 13, 2019
A French soldier of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) uses a sniffer dog to check for explosives...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) uses a sniffer dog to check for explosives during an area control operation in the Gourma region as part of Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7N
August 13, 2019
A drone operator from the French 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment launches a drone during an area control...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A drone operator from the French 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment launches a drone during an area control operation in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7O
August 13, 2019
A French soldier from the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) inspects the perimeter of a touareg...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier from the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) inspects the perimeter of a touareg home in the Gourma region during the Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8C
August 13, 2019
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment inspects a damaged house during an area control...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment inspects a damaged house during an area control operation in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7X
August 13, 2019
French soldier of the 7th Alpine Hunter Battalion, Lieutenant Melissa, a communication officer, drives...
Gao, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
French soldier of the 7th Alpine Hunter Battalion, Lieutenant Melissa, a communication officer, drives a Peugeot P4 at the Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) during the Operation Barkhane in Gao, Mali, August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC85
August 13, 2019
A Vanguard Armoured Vehicle (VAB) is seen during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A Vanguard Armoured Vehicle (VAB) is seen during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7Q
August 13, 2019
French soldiers, who are taking part in Operation Barkhane, patrol the streets of Gossi, Mali, July 30,...
GOSSI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
French soldiers, who are taking part in Operation Barkhane, patrol the streets of Gossi, Mali, July 30, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC82
August 13, 2019
A French soldier is silhouetted as he looks out over Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) during Operation...
Gao, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier is silhouetted as he looks out over Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) during Operation Barkhane in Gao, Mali, August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC84
August 13, 2019
Sergent Aleksey, a French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment, looks through the window of an...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
Sergent Aleksey, a French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment, looks through the window of an armoured vehicle in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7Y
August 13, 2019
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment prepares his equipment at a temporary forward operating...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment prepares his equipment at a temporary forward operating base (TFOB) during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7U
August 13, 2019
The French flag is hoisted at Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) as part of Operation Barkhane in...
Gao, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
The French flag is hoisted at Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) as part of Operation Barkhane in Gao, Mali, August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC8A
August 13, 2019
Local women and children arrive at an abandoned clinic to receive medical care from the French military...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
Local women and children arrive at an abandoned clinic to receive medical care from the French military during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC86
August 13, 2019
A member of a French military medical unit provides medical action for the benefit of the population...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A member of a French military medical unit provides medical action for the benefit of the population during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7V
August 13, 2019
A French flag patch is worn by a soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment in the Gourma region during...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French flag patch is worn by a soldier of the 2nd Foreign Engineer Regiment in the Gourma region during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7S
August 13, 2019
A French soldier of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) eats at a temporary forward operating...
NDAKI, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
A French soldier of the "Belleface" Desert Tactical Group (GTD) eats at a temporary forward operating base (TFOB) during Operation Barkhane in Ndaki, Mali, July 28, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7T
August 13, 2019
French soldiers adjust the cargo nets of a pallet at the Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) during...
Gao, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
French soldiers adjust the cargo nets of a pallet at the Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) during Operation Barkhane in Gao, Mali, August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
MALI-SECURITY/FRANCE
RTS2MC7R
August 13, 2019
French soldiers go for an early morning run at the Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) during Operation...
Gao, Mali
The Wider Image: French troops in Mali campaign face storms, mud, mistrust
French soldiers go for an early morning run at the Operational Desert Platform Camp (PfOD) during Operation Barkhane in Gao, Mali, August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier SEARCH "TESSIER MALI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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