“He left there happy,” says BFMTV Axel Chow, best friend of Ronan Pointeau, the French soldier killed in Mali last Saturday during a jihadist attack. After a first ceremony at the Invalides on Tuesday, a new funeral tribute should be held at the Baquet barracks in Valence (Drôme), Wednesday afternoon, in the presence of the Minister of Armies Florence Parly.
“The most beautiful death he can have”
His family, they are still struggling to achieve his death. “Already a little kid, he disguised himself as a soldier, he always told us about the army, he was a brave and strong person, with a steel mind”, recalls Brigadier's best friend killed, Axel Chow, questioned by BFMTV.
Aged 24, Ronan Pointeau joined Operation Barkhane in February 2018 with a first five-month mission to Chad. In October 2019, he joined Mali, where he was killed a month later by an explosive device in the north-east of the country. The attack was claimed by a local branch of the Islamic State group.
“He left there happy, I do not think he was stressed, he had regrets, it was his wishes that must be respected today.” The most beautiful death he can have It's this one, even if it's the one nobody wanted to see, “adds Axel Chow.
“I'm still waiting for his messages”
The day before his departure to Africa, he spent one last evening with his best friend:
“I hugged him and I told him, 'promise me to come back safe and sound.' If there is one thing he did not respect in his life, that was the phrase “There,” he breathes.
“We each see him differently, but we do not realize yet, I'm still waiting for his messages,” says another friend, Li-Lu June. “He wrote to me every night to tell me that he was fine.”
The brigadier belonged to the 1st Spahis Regiment, heir to the traditions of the prestigious Moroccan Spahis Regiment which participates in most of the French foreign operations. On Facebook, the Army also transmitted the tribute of his comrades, who “will preserve the memory of a Spahi determined, anxious to accomplish his mission, but also a true brothers-at-arms, benevolent and generous “.