Thirteen French soldiers have been killed in helicopter crash during operations against jihadists in Mali.

The two helicopters collided on Monday evening according to the French Government. The troops were involved with Operation Barkhane.

Operation Barkhane is an ongoing anti-insurgent operation in Africa’s Sahel region, which commenced in August 2014. It consists of a 3,000-strong French force, headquartered in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.

French President Macron said in the above tweet “These 13 heroes had only one goal: to protect us, I bow to the pain of their loved ones and comrades.”

According to French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, the main objective of Operation Barkhane is counter-terrorism, “The aim is to prevent what I call the highway of all forms of traffics to become a place of permanent passage, where jihadist groups between Libya and the Atlantic Ocean can rebuild themselves, which would lead to serious consequences for our security”.

The operation involves five countries, and former French colonies, that span the Sahel: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

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Julian
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Julian

Very sad news. Condolences to the families.

On possible extra detail, this from the BBC article (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-50557511) …

“The exact circumstances of Monday’s incident are unclear but defence ministry sources told the AFP news agency a Tiger attack helicopter collided with a Cougar military transport.”

Rfn_Weston
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Rfn_Weston

Very, very sad news indeed & until the circumstances are clear it’s difficult to try and be pragmatic about it, but frankly this shouldn’t be happening. Poor sods.

Rfn_Weston
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Rfn_Weston

On a separate note, Macron makes my skin crawl.

HF
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HF

Very true. I thought it was one aircraft but for two to collide is bad. RIP.

Cam
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Cam

Humans will always make mistakes as long as there are humans. But computer systems these days and in future should make it near impossible to crash jets and choppers thankfully.

Rfn_Weston
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Rfn_Weston

My point exactly! The anti-collision software in modern aircraft is mind boggling – Like I said, difficult to try and be pragmatic when it’s still so raw. Throw in the ‘fog of war’ and yeah mistakes do happen. Mid air collisions though! Desperately bad news/luck.

Rudeboy
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Rudeboy

Think loss of visibility in the area they’re working in…dreadful operating conditions, about as bad as it gets.

Rfn_Weston
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Rfn_Weston

Aye, I’ve witnessed a few brown outs myself – Absolutely miserable conditions. Pretty unnerving too actually when you can’t see 10ft past your nose.

Joe16
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Joe16

Yes, really sorry to hear about this. Thanks for the extra detail, I’d been wondering what types were involved. One assumes the Tiger was pulling overwatch for a take-off, and the Cougar came up through the dust and hit it?

Cam
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Cam

That’s sad, 13 is allot, 🇫🇷 horrible for French moral!. I Remember Operation Telic when 10 British personnel died in that single Hercules crash it was very sad for the nation, and one was a family friend!. And 44 Military personnel died on Op Teric from accidents, illness and suicide and hard to believe Friendly fire!. Thats crazy, army recruitment doesn’t tell you that!, 44 in 8 years is allot I think for non enemy contact deaths it’s almost a quarter of all deaths in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.

Helions
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Helions

Tough loss especially with so many at one time. My sympathies to the families and comrades.

Rest In Peace…

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Awful news. Deepest and heartfelt condolences to families, friends and comrades.

France has taken some awful hits in recent years. It is moments like these that we put our differences aside and consider what we have in common. Differences we have, but friends we remain. Stay strong ‘mes amis’.

HF
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HF

Well said

Julian
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Julian

Yup. Nicely done ChariotRider.

DaveyB
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DaveyB

From my sources, I can state that no UK personnel that are operating in the region were involved. There have been too many of these types of accidents. The Lynx and Puma in Afghan being our most recent. It’s a very sad occasion an my condolences go to families and comrades.

David Barry
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David Barry

RIP, duty done.

Gubby
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Gubby

The Times reports today that the RAF have sent a Chinook for recovery aid.

TopBoy
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TopBoy

RIP