Brazilian Army Participates in Operation at the Border with French Guiana (and the Legion)

Peter Lyderik

Hyper Active Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2004
Messages
1,499
Reaction score
516
Location
somewhere in the north
Best answers
0
Home Country
Denmark
The objective of Operation Tumucumaque, carried out in partnership with the French Foreign Legion, was to counter illegal activities along the border.
Taciana Moury/Diálogo
|​
20 June 2019

 

Joseph Cosgrove

Moderator
Legionnaire
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
5,356
Reaction score
3,755
Location
Hua Hin Thailand
Best answers
1
Home Country
New Zealand
The assualt course is included? 😁
No, it's basically designed to initiate people into living and surviving in the jungle. Everyone has to do it, from those that are going to combat company's to the head of the cook house (which was our case). It was interesting but hard. You learn all the things that you will use in a combat company. I don't think that it would be much use for the chef de l'ordinaire though :ROFLMAO:
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2019
Messages
80
Reaction score
27
Location
South africa
Best answers
0
Home Country
South Africa
So does everyone get sent on this course? Or just certain groups, I watched a video on it and it looks like great training would also be useful for some African territories. Some places are very dense.
 

Joseph Cosgrove

Moderator
Legionnaire
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
5,356
Reaction score
3,755
Location
Hua Hin Thailand
Best answers
1
Home Country
New Zealand
For want of a better thread, and the time to look for it, here is a very interesting article sent to my from Ossie O
The elite soldiers protecting the Amazon rainforest
1583382784300.png

French Guiana, a small French overseas territory on the north-eastern coast of South America, is one of the most forested nations on the planet, but its precious ecosystem is under threat from illegal gold mining.

Sergeant Vadim raises his left hand bringing his squad to a halt. His right hand remains firmly clasped around his rifle.

"Here you can see clearly the path of gold miners," he says, whilst pointing towards a faint track covered in leaves. "They were here three or four days ago carrying heavy goods."

Sgt Vadim is part of the French Foreign Legion - an elite infantry unit of the French army made up of mostly international recruits tasked with patrolling the dense rainforest.

After further surveying the jungle, Sgt Vadim gives a short sharp whistle. Seconds later, a reply emanates from somewhere deep in the undergrowth. A second unit of men is close by.

1583382864332.png

Manoeuvring in a pincer movement, the two units hope to flush out anyone attempting to plunder the forest for its riches. "Every country must defend its borders and stop illegal trafficking," says Capt Vianney, head of the operation and Sgt Vadim's commanding officer.

"But here in French Guiana we have a unique treasure, the jungle. Our mission is to protect it."

Beneath the Amazon rainforest lies treasure: gold deposits can be found just 15m (50ft) below the forest floor.

For centuries, prospectors have been lured into these forests in the hope of finding a fortune. But just over a decade ago, when the economic crash of 2008 caused the price of gold to skyrocket, a gold rush began all over the Amazon jungle.

Since then, the price of gold has continued to soar and rampant illegal gold mining has destroyed swathes of jungle from Ecuador across Peru, Colombia and Venezuela to Brazil.

In French Guiana, which has a population of less than 300,000 people, there are an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 illegal miners.
1583383067402.png
Large illegal mining sites such as this one close to the Maroni river have been found across French Guiana

As Dominick Plouvier, conservation expert and director of Amazon Conservation Team explains, the problem lies in the use of one high volatile chemical.

"Mercury, used in the extraction process is the big problem. It pollutes the rivers, which then poisons the fish, which then in turn poisons the people who eat the fish."

Mercury is a highly toxic and indestructible substance which is poisonous to humans.

After excavating large amounts of earth, prospectors add mercury to separate out the tiny flecks of gold from the soil. Within minutes it binds with the gold, allowing miners to simply wash away the dirt. The mercury can then be simply burnt off leaving the gold behind.

1583383209533.png
Mercury is used to separate the gold from the soil

For every gram of gold extracted, at least one gram of mercury is also required. Left to wash away, discarded mercury enters the huge Amazon river network. Accumulating in fish, it then enters the food chain.

"Mercury acts very quickly," explains Mr Plouvier. "Attacking the nervous system, it damages your lungs, your kidneys and your brain. We have seen its effects on local children brought into hospital."

Scientists estimate one third of all the mercury produced by human activity on the planet comes from small-scale gold mining.

On the French Guiana-Brazil border, gold mining is mainly carried out by "garimpeiros", the Portuguese word used to described small-scale miners who extract the metal illegally.

"Most of the time, the garimpeiros are poor lads from Brazil looking for easy money. They live in the forest for months and months," says Capt Vianney.

"Back home they would earn 800 reais a month ($200; £150) for doing small labouring jobs. But in the forest, they can earn that in a few days."

It is the French Foreign Legion's job to find the garimpeiros and to destroy their camps.


Captain Vianney uses a satellite phone to coordinate the operation from within the jungle
Image captionCapt Vianney coordinates the operation from within the jungle via a satellite phone

Sgt Vadim signals to his team to move off. They tread carefully, scouring the forest for clues.

With no mobile phone signal due to the thick forest canopy, the garimpeiros leave messages for each other hidden in the forest. Elusive machete marks in the trunk of a tree, or hidden amongst the undergrowth, the red arrow on Marlboro cigarette packets are placed so as to point the way to their hidden camps.

Operating here requires perseverance as it much as it does a machete. Lying in wait, in this inhospitable labyrinth is a menagerie of poisonous insects, frogs, spiders and snakes. Mosquitoes carry malaria, dengue, yellow fever as well as zika, while in the rivers, caiman compete for space with piranhas.

"In the river there is also an electric eel with enough volts to kill a horse," says Sgt Vadim with a wry smile.

Covering up to 40km (25 miles) a day, the infantry may follow a single track for weeks in the hope of finding a hidden site. During these missions, they are dependent on a helicopter to deliver food and fresh water every few days. In the evenings, after a wash in the river, they spend the night in hammocks before rising early again the next day.

But despite all their armoury, helicopter support, gasoline boats, and GPS tracking systems, they rarely catch anyone. Often by the time they arrive, the gold diggers have already been tipped off and fled.

"We are watched all day long," says Capt Vianney. "They know about us before we even land".
The legionnaires often sleep in the forest

Operating across an area the size of Ireland, this regiment of 400 men simply cannot be everywhere at once. But for conservation expert Dominick Plouvier, both the garimpeiros and the army acting on behalf of the French government are chasing short-term solutions.

"As soon as the army leaves, the garimpeiros return," he explains. "Gold mining is such an important livelihood in this area, you can't just say 'don't do it'."

"Many local people as well as Brazilians depend on this economy. If you want to stop the destruction of the forest, you need to offer legal and sustainable alternatives".
 

Attachments

SnafuSmite

Active Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2015
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
955
Location
South of South
Best answers
1
Home Country
South Africa
Brilliant post Joe, fantastic and informative article. 3REI has always intrigued me as a unit, IMHO the last of the "old" Legion, protecting France's interests abroad.
 

dusaboss

Hyper Active Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
3,899
Reaction score
1,189
Location
Serbia
Best answers
0
Home Country
Yugoslavia
Brilliant post Joe, fantastic and informative article. 3REI has always intrigued me as a unit, IMHO the last of the "old" Legion, protecting France's interests abroad.
I think you are wrong on that Snafu. Maybe you did not defined well what you want to said. Other regiments are active in French Africa protecting French interests. Only not based there. And there is D.L.E.M, but they look more like vacation regiment. :)
 

Joseph Cosgrove

Moderator
Legionnaire
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
5,356
Reaction score
3,755
Location
Hua Hin Thailand
Best answers
1
Home Country
New Zealand
Brilliant post Joe, fantastic and informative article. 3REI has always intrigued me as a unit, IMHO the last of the "old" Legion, protecting France's interests abroad.
It was actually a re-post sent by Ossie O. the Orpeilleurs -to use the name that they call illegal gold diggers in Mali. Actually, an orpeilleurs is a gold prospector. They have always existed in the amazon, and it is not unusual to see see floating barges on the river separating Guyane from Brazil and on the big rivers inside of Guyane.
The difference is NOW, with the krovirus, the price of gold will sky rocket. Because instead of investors putting their money into wheat , or construction, people want a commodity that will take time to deflate.
 

SnafuSmite

Active Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2015
Messages
1,402
Reaction score
955
Location
South of South
Best answers
1
Home Country
South Africa
I think you are wrong on that Snafu. Maybe you did not defined well what you want to said. Other regiments are active in French Africa protecting French interests. Only not based there. And there is D.L.E.M, but they look more like vacation regiment. :)
What I am referring to is being based overseas, not going on an Opex, all the other regiments are based in France or Corsica. Originally the Legion were all based overseas, not even basic training was in France. I am sure there are cases of Legionnaires that served in the Legion that never set foot in France.

When I talk about old Legion, I assume Pre-Algeria and Modern Legion being Post-Algeria
 
Top