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ShieldAfrica 2021: French army soldiers deployed in Côte d'Ivoire carried out live demonstration.

| 2021

At the Security and Defense Exhibition in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) ShieldAfrica 2021, the French army has demonstrated its ability to conduct different types of missions on the modern battlefield. During a live demonstration, French army forces in Côte d'Ivoire have presented two scenarios of real combat situations.

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French army soldiers conduct a live demonstration at ShieldAfrica 2021, Security and Defense Exhibition in Côte d'Ivoire, June 9, 2021. (Picture source Army Recognition)

The presence of French armed forces in Côte d'Ivoire started in January 2015. In 2016, French forces in Ivory Coast have been increased from 500 to 900 soldiers to form a forward operating base for west Africa and to counter Islamist attacks in the region.

Abidjan is one of three "reservoirs" of French troops in the world, along with Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates, providing entry points to the different regions. The French forces in Côte d'Ivoire can be deployed to support French troops engaged in external operations in the Sahel region or to intervene in a new international crisis.

Each year, the French troops in Côte d'Ivoire also trained about 600 Ivorian soldiers.

The first scenario of the French army lives demonstration at ShieldAfrica consisted of a patrol using a VAB 4x4 armored vehicle reacting to an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) attack. IEDs are generally seen in terrorist actions or in asymmetric unconventional warfare by insurgent guerrillas or commando forces in a theatre of operations.

An improvised explosive device (IED) is a bomb constructed and deployed in ways other than in conventional military action. It may be constructed of conventional military explosives, such as an artillery shell, attached to a detonating mechanism. IEDs are commonly used as roadside bombs. Because the components of these devices are being used in a manner not intended by their manufacturer, and because the method of producing the explosion is limited only by the science and imagination of the perpetrator, it is not possible to follow a step-by-step guide to detect and disarm a device that an individual has only recently developed.

The detection of IEDs is a nightmare for troops deployed in combat operations. In December 2020, three French soldiers died in Mali as their armored vehicle was hit by an IED in a military operation aimed at fighting Islamist extremists in Africa's Sahel region. In January 2021, six French soldiers were wounded after an IED attack.

Today, all armed forces in the world deliver specific training to counter-improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and have also created Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialists to clear mines and IEDs.

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