PARIS, June 1 (KUNA) -- France announced Thursday the death of another one of its soldiers in clashes in Mali, bringing to 20 the number of troops lost in the Sahel region since 2013.
Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard said in a statement that the soldier was part of Operation Barkhane, which was put in place with around 4,000 troops to fight terrorist groups principally in Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger and which has been actively engaging regional groups and those infiltrating from southern Libya.
Goulard said the soldier was shot dead morning in a clash that took place in Timbuktu, northern Mali.
Several other troops were injured, one of them seriously, the Defense Minister said.
She also "reaffirmed her total confidence" in Operation Barkhane and expressed her determination to support that operation and parallel UN and African Union deployments in the fight against terrorism.
France intervened in Mali in 2013 to prevent radical, Islamist groups, affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and Tuareg militias from taking power in that country. (end) jk.mb