French forces kill at least 10 militants in Mali

The offensive is part of France's Operation Barkhane, active in Mali as well as four other former French colonies

Afp February 14, 2018
A file picture taken on September 21, 2010 shows a French soldier (C) patroling with Afghan soldiers in Kapisa province in Afghanistan. PHOTO: AFP

BAMAKO: French air power killed on Wednesday at least 10 militants in northeast Mali near the border with Algeria, local and foreign military sources said.

"French forces on Wednesday led at least one raid near Tinzaouatene, at the Algerian border, against the terrorists," a local Malian military source told. "There were at least 10 deaths and two vehicles were destroyed."

The offensive was part of France's Operation Barkhane, active in Mali as well as four other former French colonies in west Africa Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.

These countries from the so-called G5 Sahel, a French-supported group that launched a joint military force to combat militancy last year.

The Malian source said the French force had been conducting operations in northeastern Mali for several days.

A foreign military source confirmed that "several" raids had been carried out in the region on Wednesday, killing at least 10 militants.

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Extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north of Mali in early 2012, but were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.

However large tracts of the country remain lawless despite a peace accord signed with ethnic Tuareg leaders in mid-2015 aimed at isolating the militants.

On Tuesday in neighbouring Burkina Faso meanwhile, a police personnel was killed and two were injured in an attack at a village near the eastern town of Fada N'Gourma, in a region that has largely escaped unrest.

The assailants' identity was unknown.

Northern Burkina Faso has seen frequent attacks by suspected militants, with two police killed late last month in the town of Baraboule.