France says troops killed 20 militants in northern Mali | News | DW | 03.06.2017
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France says troops killed 20 militants in northern Mali

France's Defense Ministry reports that its troops took several combatants "out of action" in operations in Mali this week. The assault also resulted in the seizure of weapons and other equipment.

Soldiers taking part in France's counterterror mission in northern Mali clashed with Islamist militants this week, taking out around 20 fighters, officials said on Friday.

Soldiers involved in Operation Barkhane, France's military mission operating in the Sahel region, deployed Tiger attack helicopters and Mirage 2000 jets during the operations.

"About 20 terrorist have been taken out, and following searches the army has seized individual and collective weapons," France's Defense Ministry reported in a statement.

In addition to weapons, munitions and other equipment were seized during the operations, which began on Sunday and ended on Thursday.

The statement added that, along with other missions carried out with forces from Mali and Burkina Faso, this week's actions had "produced intelligence on operations by armed terrorist groups in the region."

Four French soldiers were wounded when mortar struck an Operation Barkhane camp outside Timbuktu on Thursday. One day prior, three Malian soldiers were killed in an ambush.

Mali Macron fordert mehr Einsatz von Deutschland und Europa (Reuters/C. Petit Tesson)

French President Macron visited Mali in May, urging Germany and other EU allies to increase their military presence in Africa

In 2013, France intervened in Mali to drive out Qaeda-linked fighters who had overtaken northern cities. The mission has since deployed over 4,500 soldiers to Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.

Militants continue to mount attacks on civilians, the army, and French and UN troops stationed in northern and central Mali.

Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron visited with troops in Mali on his first official visit outside Europe since taking office. He urged European leaders to step up their military presence in Africa to help combat terror groups.

rs/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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