BAMAKO, 3 January 2021 – Two French soldiers were killed in an improvised explosive device Saturday in Mali’s eastern regon of Menaka.
The victims met their demise when their armoured vehicle hit the explosive.
France has lost “two of its children,” tweeted Florence Parly, France’s Minister for the Armed Forces.
One of the two killed – Sgt. Huynh, 33 and mother of a young child – became the first female French solider to be killed in the Sahel, the French News Agency (AFP) reported.
The name of her male colleague, killed with her, was given as Brig Loic Risser.
Three other French soldiers were killed in a similar attack only a few days ago.
France has 5,100 troops deployed in countries of the Sahel region of Africatroops in supporting African armed and security forces in the fight against Islamist militants.
Besides Mali, Paris has deployed troops to Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mauritania and Niger.
The soldiers killed in Menaka were collecting intelligence, according to French ministry of defense sources.
The Mali-based affiliate of al-Qaeda known as Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack.
France says it has lost 50 soldiers in Mali since they were first deployed in 2013 to the West African country.
French troops launched precision attacks on bases of the insurgents following the killing of the three soldiers, announcing later that the raid killed over 50 of the insurgents.