Those who have ever blogged or maintained a website or even updates a Facebook page always look forward to reading comments made by visitors, guests and friends. Last week I actually had several constructive comments on various posts on this blog and, best of all, a reader also offered to share some pictures of the old Foreign Legion fort at Ain Ben Tili in eastern Mauritania. Of course I said “Yes! Please! SVP!”. The photos below were taken by Jean-Pierre, an officer of the French Army, while he was on a 6-month MINURSO (United Nations Mission for the organization of a Referendum in Western Sahara) tour in the western Saharan desert in 2007. The Bir Lehlou Observer Team Site in Eastern Mauritania (one of five) would often conduct patrols near this fort and it was on one of their patrols that these pictures were taken.
I had posted previously on Ain Ben Tili last year and included every picture I could find on the internet. LINK. However, Jean-Pierre’s photos provide a much more detailed view of the small fort’s walls and interior. One might recognize in several of these pictures that some portions of the walls have suffered the effects of small arms fire. This was from the fighting between the Mauritanian Army and the POLISARIO rebels who briefly captured and held this fort for three weeks in 1976. Also interesting to see is the brickwork appears to be a mixture of mud brick and local stone that has been covered over with a lighter sealing type of plaster. This was necessary since once the elements (rain) attack the mud bricks they quickly start to deteriorate. One can imagine in the 1930’s that the Legionnaires stationed here kept this fort in tip-top condition and any cracked plaster was quickly sealed up. Also the last three photo’s show the grave of Brigadier (Corporal) Tison. This site is kept up by the MINURSO team as often as they can and (in the one photo) decorated with ribbon on Bastille Day, 14 July. Legionnaire Tison was part of the 5th Squadron of the 1st Foreign Legion Cavalry Regiment (REC). Honneur et fidélité!
Merci boucoup Jean-Pierre for sharing these pictures.