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.
Treize de nos militaires sont morts hier au Mali. Ils étaient engagés dans une opération de combat contre des terroristes. Ces treize héros n’avaient qu’un seul but : nous protéger. Je m’incline devant la douleur de leurs proches et de leurs camarades.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 26, 2019
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.