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ConflictsBurkina Faso

French forces 'neutralize' 40 militants in Burkina Faso

February 12, 2022

France's armed forces say 40 militants have been killed during an operation in Burkina Faso. The targeted group is believed to be responsible for deadly attacks in Benin.

A Mirage 2000 aircraft of the French Air Force involved in Operation Barkhane
The French army said the group of militants were responsible for recent deadly attacks in Benin and were targeted by aerial assets including a drone and fighter jetsImage: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

The French army on Saturday said it killed 40 militants in Burkina Faso. According to a statement posted on Twitter, the militants were "neutralized" during a joint operation with Burkinabe armed forces. The statement went on to say that the armed "terrorist group" was responsible for two attacks in neighboring Benin.

Group believed to be responsible for Benin attacks

The French army said on Tuesday and Wednesday that an armed group operating in the area of the W National Park led attacks on a ranger patrol and members of Benin's armed forces.

Nine people were killed, including five park rangers and a French national.

According to the French military's statement, aerial intelligence was used to locate the group after the alarm was raised. On Thursday, a column of "terrorists" traveling on motorcycles was targeted by a drone as they crossed the border of Burkina Faso. Twelve were killed in that engagement.

Shortly after that, warplanes carried out three strikes targeting more militants. "During this action more than 30 terrorists were neutralized," the statement said.

In January, French armed forces reported that dozens of Islamist militants were killed in a number of engagements in northern Burkina Faso.

Operation Barkhane

France is leading Operation Barkhane, a multinational force battling Islamist groups in the Sahel region. Around 5,000 French troops are joined by soldiers from Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.

Last year, French President Emmanuel Macron said his country's involvement in the operation would end in the first quarter of 2022.

The insurgency has plunged the region into chaos, with a number of states experiencing political turmoil.

In January, Burkina Faso became the latest country to fall under military control, joining Mali, Guinea and Chad, where militaries toppled governments in 2021.

One of the reasons cited by the military for seizing control was growing frustration with the government's inability to contain the insurgency.

kb/sms (AFP,dpa)