In the African sunshine the two unit commanders shook hands and Lieutenant Colonel Ohlsson wished Lieutenant Colonel Gardesten success in his continuing task.
Personnel changes in all subordinate units also took effect at the same time.
The follow-on force, consisting of 125 men, has two tasks to carry out at the start of its mission. The task of helping to ensure a secure and stable environment in the country is ongoing. The purpose of this is to make it possible for the aid organisations to feel safe as they carry out their work for the refugees and other groups at risk in the area for which they are responsible. At the same time, the force has to make preparations for the start of the wind-down of the Swedish operation.
The unit will face its greatest challenge when all materiel and personnel have to be moved from Abéché to N'Djamena for subsequent transportation to Doula in Cameroon. The distance between Abéché and N'Djamena is roughly 900 km. It took about four days to transport materiel and personnel to Abéché. The return journey is expected to take a long time due to complicating circumstances such as poor or sometimes non-existent roads and the arrival of the rainy season which is slowly beginning to make itself felt.
"I am convinced that we shall manage to complete our tasks in good order but it is going to make considerable demands on all of us", says Gardesten.
Lieutenant Colonel Gardesten expects the winding up of the operation to be tough but he believes that with good leadership it can be done.
"We all thrive on challenges and testing conditions. That is what we are trained and equipped for", he adds.
"I am grateful that so many have chosen to join this mission to the middle of Africa where we know very well that we face increased risks in many respects, but it is certainly going to be an exciting time!"
For those who are curious to know how the two units differ, the main difference is that TD 01(F) is organised primarily for the purpose of packing up and bringing home all the materiel and personnel. At the same time they have to carry out, at least until 15 September at the earliest, operational tasks in their area of responsibility. This is in contrast to TD 01 which was organised to establish a base and group themselves in the new operational area. So we are talking about two different organisations with a common objective.
This aim is that Sweden should contribute to the creation of a stable and conflict-free environment in which help can be brought in the best way possible to the refugees and displaced families in the eastern part of Chad.