French soldier killed in attack on military base in northern Mali

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A French soldier has been killed in a mortar attack on a military camp in Gao, northern Mali, the Elysée Palace announced Sunday. Brigadier Alexandre Martin had been serving in France’s Barkhane operation in the restive Sahel region.

In a statement, President Emmanuel Macon "respectfully saluted” the memory Brigadier Martin, saying he "joined in the grief of his family, his loved ones and his brothers in arms”.

Although the exact circumstances of the incident, which took place Saturday, were unclear, authorities pointed to a jihadist attack.

It's understood that nine others were lightly injured, and the perpetrators were killed in a counter pffence by military helicopters.

Ongoing fight

Macron said he confirmed the determination of France to continue the fight against terrorism in the region.

More than 4,000 French forces are stationed in the Sahel region of West Africa, most of them in Mali.

Paying fresh tribute to French troops, the Elysée saluted the courage of the soldiers in the Sahel, saying the President had expressed his “total confidence in them”.

Brigadier Martin is the 53rd French soldier killed in action in the Sahel since 2013.

Paris is reducing its presence in Mali, hoping to halve the contingent by the summer of 2023. It has also asked its European Union allies to provide more support.

Amid rapidly deteriorating relations with the military junta that has ruled Mali since a coup in August 2020, France is now considering an earlier exit.

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