The French army has “neutralised” 200 jihadist fighters in the Sahel over the last year, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says in an interview to be published tomorrow. Peace talks between Mali’s government and rebels should conclude next month, he said.
The French military has either killed or captured 200 Islamist fighters, 60 since the beginning of August, mainly in northern Mali and Niger, Le Drian said on Monday.
Two important leaders of Islamist rebel groups were among those “neutralised”, he said.
Last week French special forces said they had killed Ahmed el Tilemsi, the main Arab emir of the Iyad Ag Ghali groups, according to experts.
Earlier this year France wrapped up its Serval operation in northern Mali and launched Barkhane, in which 3,000 troops are posted in five countries to fight Islamist groups in the Sahel.