Battle of Ifoghas
|Battle of Ifoghas|
|Part of Northern Mali conflict (2012–present)|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Mahamat Déby Itno
Abdel Aziz Hassane Adam †
Adam Dih Bidy †
Souleymane Berneo Tebir †
|Abou Zeïd †|
|Casualties and losses|
|26 KIA, 51 wounded||93 killed, ~20 captured|
On 22 February, a column of nearly two-hundred Chadian soldiers for the Chadian FATIM mission in Mali left Tessalit and were transported towards the Algerian border in order to regroup with a detachment of the French army. The Chadian army was responsible for "closing" the narrow neck to the east known as Adrar Tigharghâr, located in the Amettetaï valley, while the French army advanced to the west. According to several sources an MNLA affiliated guide named Sid Ahmed offered to help lead the Chadian army to the jihadists sanctuary, where seven French hostages and caches of heavy weapons were suspected to be hidden. Instead of taking bypass roads to surprise the enemy, he led them through the main road right into an ambush, which showed he had suspected connections with the Islamists.
They were traveling in the mountains abroad pick-up trucks and light armored vehicles, when shortly after 11 o'clock in the morning, they came across the planned attack. Taken under fire, they first performed a tactical retreat rather than a counter-attack and resumed their progression on a rough and difficult terrain. At least 13 Chadian soldiers were killed on the spot and those who were badly injured, rarely escaped death in the coming days. Instead of falling back, the Chadians struck back at the attackers inflicting a bloody response. Then the Chadian army searched numerous caves and suffered the heaviest losses in close combat. Even when the jihadists were surrounded, they refused to surrender. On one instance three jihadists, cornered, did not hesitate to blow themselves up with grenades taking with them three Chadian soldiers. At one point the Chadian army suffered the most severe losses, when during a search of cave, several jihadists pretended to leave before blowing themselves up with grenades, killing many soldiers including Chadian special forces commander in Mali, Abdel Aziz Hassane Adam, who was mortally injured in the explosion and succumbed to his wounds later that afternoon.
Throughout the operation Chadian soldiers were supported by French warplanes who brought fire support and aerial coverage. After ten hours of on and off battling jihadists, the Chadian army took control over the 30 km long Amettetaï valley, recapturing all the ground they previously lost. According to a French chief medical officer, who took charge of the wounded, said around twenty soldiers died on the field with most of the shots coming from point blank range. He also indicated that a significant number were wounded in the head or torso, evidence that jihadists fighters are well trained and prepared to battle infantry. The wounded and deceased soldiers were transported by vehicle to Kidal, where by then the casualty toll had risen to 25 dead. The wounded were then transported by helicopter to Niamey, Niger. On 28 February, another soldier injured in the fighting succumbed, raising the death toll to 26 dead, with another 51 soldiers being hospitalized.
- Tribute to Captain Hassan Abdel Aziz Adam and his Men
- Chadian troops kill jihadist leaders in Mali
- Guerre au Mali : 53 militaires tchadiens blessés admis dans les hôpitaux de Niamey
- Ten Chadian soldiers killed fighting Islamists in Mali
- Chad calls for urgent African help to fight Islamists in Mali
- "Mali: nouveau bilan de 25 soldats tchadiens tués après de violents combats dans le nord | Mali Actualités" (in French). Maliactu.net. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
- http://www.nord-mali.com[full citation needed]