French jets hit targets in northern Chad last week in support of local troops, the French military said in a statement.
“A Mirage 2000 patrol of the French armed forces intervened jointly with the Chadian army in northern Chad to strike a column of 40 pickups of an armed group from Libya infiltrating deep into Chadian territory.
This intervention at the request of Chadian authorities helped hinder this hostile advance and disperse the column.”
This happened as part of Operation Barkhane, an ongoing French anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region, which commenced in August 2014.
The French force in the region is a 3,000-strong counter-terrorism force, with 1,000 soldiers deployed indefinitely in Mali.
These forces are focused on counter-terrorism operations in northern Mali, with another 1,200 soldiers stationed in Chad, and the remaining soldiers split between a surveillance base in Niger, a bigger permanent base in Ivory Coast, and some special forces in Burkina Faso.
According to original plans, the French forces have 20 helicopters, 200 armored vehicles, 10 transport aircraft, 6 jets and 3 drones.
The French statement did not say who was behind the incursion, but it was the first time French forces have hit targets in support of Chad troops since a fledgling rebel movement based in southern Libya increased its activities last year.
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