Ground Zero

Mali - Part 1

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Ground Zero - Mali was shot in Gao, in northern Mali, on February 21, 2013. It's basically the first legitimate combat footage to come out of the war there. Normally the French ban journalists from the front lines and film a sanitised version of the fighting themselves and then distribute it to the media.

In this case, the insurgents came to us: They slipped into Gao overnight on small boats and used suicide bombers to blast their way into government buildings. The French left the fighting to the Malian army for most of the day as a test of their combat abilities. Malian soldiers, while very brave, are almost completely untrained and had great difficulty fighting less than a dozen jihadists, some of whom were children. They fired wild bursts of automatic fire everywhere, destroying the city center. The Malians soon ran out of ammunition and had to wait for the French to show up and save the day.

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