Sixth French soldier killed in Mali conflict

President François Hollande commended the courage of the French forces fighting in Mali after it was announced that another soldier had been killed in the conflict. Six French soldiers have now died since the operation began in January.

Sixth French soldier killed in Mali conflict
File photo of French soldiers heading north in Mali in the fight against Islamist rebels. Photo: AFP

A French soldier was killed Monday in the far north of Mali, the French presidency said.

He was the sixth soldier killed in the west African country since France launched a military intervention in January to quash Al-Qaeda-linked groups that had taken control of the north.

President Francois Hollande sent his condolences to the soldier's family and hailed "the determination and courage of the French forces engaged in Mali alongside Malian and (other) African forces".

France has begun withdrawing its 4,500 troops deployed in Mali and handing over the reins to a 6,300-strong force, the International Mission for Support to Mali (MISMA).

Paris has said about 1,000 soldiers will remain in Mali beyond this year to back up a UN force that is to replace MISMA.

The UN force of 12,600 peacekeepers, to be responsible for stabilising the north, whose creation was approved last week, will be phased in gradually from July.

The French-led campaign destroyed the bases and installations of armed Islamist groups in northern Mali, leaving them unable to conduct coordinated operations, but they are still capable of small-scale attacks against Malian and French soldiers.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Denmark to deploy special forces to Mali in 2022

Denmark plans to deploy about 100 special forces to Mali early next year to boost the elite anti-jihadist European task force Takuba headed by France, the government announced Thursday.

Denmark to deploy special forces to Mali in 2022
A UN aircraft about to depart Denmark for Mali in 2019. File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

“The terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda remainssignificant,” the foreign and defence ministries said in a joint statement.

“They want to create a hub in West Africa for their extremist regime… and we cannot allow that to happen,” they added.

The Danish contingent, which apart from the special forces will also include top level military officers and surgeons, will be deployed at the beginning of 2022, the ministries said.

Copenhagen also plans to send a military transport plane to assist the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA.

The French-led Takuba multinational force, launched in March 2020, has already seen Czech, Swedish and Estonian troops deployed in the region but France has struggled to obtain significant support from its larger EU partners.