French soldiers launch operation in northern Mali

imgFrench soldiers killed or captured about 20 terrorists in Mali’s restive north where a French soldier was killed on April 5, the French chief of staff said Sunday.
Troops from Operation Barkhane, a French counter-terror operation whose mission is to target militant groups operating in the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert, launched the operation on Saturday south-west of the city of Gao.
“Since Saturday, the Barkhane force has been engaged in an operation which led to the neutralization of nearly 20 jihadists in the forest of Foulsare near the border between Mali and Burkina Faso,” a statement said.
They were either killed or captured, spokesman Col. Patrik Steiger said without giving a breakdown.
French Mirage fighter jets bombed several arms depots in the forest, a sanctuary for armed terrorist groups.
Set up in 2014, the operation comprises around 4,000 soldiers who are deployed across five countries — Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso. In Niger, it operates four Mirage 2000 fighter jets and five Reaper drones for gathering intelligence.

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