The last two days were successful for French Special Forces fighting in Mali. According to France 24, French soldiers killed more than 30 Islamist militants during three operations.
“A Reaper drone, a Mirage 2000 fighter jet, a Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter, and a Cougar transport helicopter were used in two targeted strikes on an area where terrorist fighters had been spotted, revealed French military spokesman Colonel Frédéric Barbry,” according to the report.
France has deployed about 4,500 soldiers in an anti-insurgent operation codenamed as Operation Barkhane, which began in 2014. France has said it would boost its military presence in the Sahel region by adding 600 troops to its 4,500-strong operation in Mali and four other countries in the region, Al Jazeera reported earlier.
As French President Emmanuel Macron held a summit In January with leaders of African G5 Sahel nations in a bid to shore up the legitimacy of France’s military operation, France24 takes a closer look at the work being carried out by French troops on the ground. For more than five years now, they have been deployed as part of Operation Barkhane, billed as the last line of defense against jihadists in the Sahel region. Our team reports.
Black November, Deadly accident
In November 2019, 13 French troops were killed during a combat mission in the south of Slimane, le Liptako in Mali. They were assigned as support in the ongoing Operation Barkhane, which now lasts more than a six-years. It’s a mission against terrorist elements, French MOD reported. A Corporal, six NCOs, and six other troopers were killed.
The troops on the ground were chasing fleeing militants when the helicopters which were providing support collided according to information recovered from the helicopter’s black boxes. An investigation is ongoing according to the MOD of France.
It marks the largest single loss of life since operations began in 2013 in Mali. 41 French troops have been killed since then, according to the official data available to the public. The helicopters, a Tigre and a Cougar collided as they provided air support to soldiers on the ground who were tracking militants.
France is determined to continue its efforts in the global war on terror.