MALI: On Friday, 24th September 2011, the Elysee and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of France announced that Caporal Chef Maxime Blasco (in English: Master Corporal), member of the 7th Alpine Hunter Battalion from Varces (Isere, France), was shot dead in the head by a hitman in an action “against an armed terrorist group.”
Who was CCH Maxime Blasco
CCH Maxime Blasco is the 52nd French soldier killed since the 2013 launch of the anti-jihadist operations Serval, and then Barkhane, in the African Sahel region, but who was he?
Originally from Grenoble, CCH Maxime Blasco “Max” (1986-2021) was enlisted at the age of 25 as a marksman, and then became a sniper for the Commando Montagne group. Deployed as part of operations Barkhane and Sangaris in 2014, he was known for his “precision and composture” and his “combat effectiveness in particular in a very dense wooded area.” Decorated several times, CCH Maxime Blasco denied being a hero despite receiving the Military Medal at the hands of Emmanuel Macron on June 18 for the “exceptional value of his services” during Operation Aconite.
“For him, things are simple. We leave with friends, we go home together.” DU COURAGE…, GÉRARD GUERRIER RECOUNTS THE WORDS OF MAXIME BLASCO’S WIFE.
How did CCH Maxime Blasco die
Launched on August 1, 2014, operation Barkhane is a French-led operation taking place in the G5 Sahel to coordinate anti-terrorism efforts: Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad.
According to a statement from the General Staff of the Armed Forces, early in the morning of 24th September, in the region of Gossi, a Reaper drone localized an armed terrorist group of ten close to the line with Burkina Faso. Two assault Tiger helicopters and a commando group of 30 commandos were deployed to neutralize the terrorist group in the very densely wooded N’Daki Forest in Mali Gourma. CCH Maxime Blasco was killed during the surveillance activity. According to the spokesperson, the attacker and all the other terrorists “were neutralized.”
Future reduction of French military presence in G5
Despite announcing the reduction of French military presence in Sahel in June, the French President reiterated “France’s determination in its fight against terrorism.” The reasons for this reduction are notably five:
- the dissemination of organized terrorism beyond geographic boundaries;
- the restoration of the anti-jihadist European alliance;
- the Bamako’s plans to conclude a contract with the Russian paramilitary company Wagner;
- the increase in competence of local armed forces which are to take over from France; and,
- the reaffirmation of the fact that the French troops are to contain terrorism, not to ensure the sovereignty of these countries.