On April 24 Lithuanian soldiers deployed home from the United Nations Operation in Mali MINUSMA after completing a six-month rotation contributing to the efforts of the international community to stabilise situation in the country.
32 troops of the 8th Territorial Unit of the Great Battle Military District of the National Defence Volunteer Force formed the 6th rotation of the Force Protection Unit in Operation MINUSMA and 2 soldiers of the Lithuanian Armed Forces logistical units served as the National Support Element.
They were replaced by a new over 30-strong Lithuanian rotation formed by career soldiers and volunteer soldiers with the 6th Territorial Unit of the Resurrection Military District of the National Defence Volunteer Force based in Šiauliai.
Soldiers of the 6th Force Protection Unit rotation and the National Support Element were brought by a German Air Force aircraft to Cologne Bonn Airport and from there flown to Šiauliai by the Lithuanian Air Force Spartan aircraft, and then were taken to isolation location by designated transport. All the military personnel returning from areas of international operations are tested and undergo 14-day isolation period in one of Lithuanian Armed Forces units according to the preventive order issued by the Chief of Defence to contain the coronavirus spread in the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
The troops were welcomed home by Commander of the NDVF 8th Territorial Unit, Great Battle Military District, Lt Col Denisas Starikovičius and Sergeant Major Sgt Maj Rolandas Markevičius.
"It is wonderful to welcome you after the successful return. Thank you for your dedicated and professional completion of your tasks. You have been praised and complimented, and assessed really highly by the German Contingent command for your service," Commander of the NDVF 8th Territorial Unit, Great Battle Military District, Lt Col Denisas Starikovičius said welcoming the troops home.
"All the soldiers are well, the trip went fluently, everyone is in high spirits, however, the current situation in Lithuania requires for the soldiers to carry out a 14-day quarantine period under supervision of the Lithuanian Military Medical Service in designated quarters," Commander of the Force Protection Unit 1st Lt Martynas Jonavičius said.
Soldiers will receive good catering, rest conditions, and availability of telephone or Internet communication with their families throughout the mandatory isolation.
Lithuanian military personnel is currently deployed to 8 more NATO, EU, and UN-led international operations.
The United Nations launched the Multinational Integrated Stabilization Mission, MINUSMA, in Mali in 2013. MINUSMA is aimed at stabilising the country, supporting the implementation of the transitional action plan, protecting civilian population, promoting and protecting human rights, arranging humanitarian aid, preserving cultural heritage, and ensuring justice at national and international levels. MINUSMA is currently conducted by roughly 13 thousand military personnel. The first Force Protection Unit formed by the National Defence Volunteer Force was deployed to the operation in October 2017. Lithuanian troops are guarding Camp Castor in composition of the German Contingent in the eastern part of Mali, province of Gao.
Photo credits: NDVF 8th Territorial Unit, Great Battle Military District, and the Lithuanian Air Force