French soldier killed fighting jihadists in Mali
A soldier from France’s Foreign Legion died in combat during an operation against jihadist fighters in Mali on Monday, the French presidency said, reporting the second such death in days.
Forty-three French soldiers have been killed in the Sahel region since the country deployed troops in 2013 to help local forces battling jihadist insurgents.
The soldier was involved in an operation “against armed terrorist groups”, the army’s general staff said in a statement.
“Challenged at close range, the leading unit retaliated and put two jihadists out of action,” it said.
The statement named the soldier as Kevin Clement, saying he was wounded in the action died after being evacuated by helicopter to a medical unit in Gao.
On Friday, another legionnaire from the same regiment died of wounds he suffered on April 23 when an improvised explosive device was set off.
Mali is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives since it erupted in 2012.
Thousands of French and UN personnel have arrived in the region but they have failed to stop the conflict engulfing central Mali and spreading to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
The French military stepped up its operations since the start of the year and has killed dozens of jihadists.