Three French soldiers killed in Mali during terror mission

A French armored vehicle drove in March 2019 near Hombori, a small town in the central Mopti province of Mali, where the soldiers who died on Monday were operating.


daphné benoit / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

PARIS – Three French soldiers were killed in Mali on Monday when their vehicle hit a bomb during operations during France’s terrorist mission in the West African country, the French government said.

France has more than 5,000 troops deployed in an area that stretches thousands of miles from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to Chad in the east. For the past seven years, the forces have been fighting branches of the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other militant groups, which are roaming the isolated villages in the region, threatening government forces in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and elsewhere.

The soldiers who died on Monday were engaged in operations around Hombori, a small town in the central Mopti province of Mali, as part of the French military operation Barkhane against Islamic militants in the Sahel region of Africa. They identified the soldiers as Tanerii Mauri, Dorian Issakhanian and Quentin Pauchet. The three soldiers were from a military regiment in the city of Thierville-sur-Meuse in eastern France, they said.

Their deaths bring French deaths among at least 47 soldiers during the current operation and the short operation before it, which began in 2013. This includes an accident in November 2019, when two French helicopters collided during a mission in northern Mali and 13 soldiers were killed.

The U.S. military has provided significant support to the French operation, including drone surveillance and other intelligence-gathering activities. In 2017, Islamic militants killed four U.S. soldiers in Niger.

Write to Noemie Bisserbe at [email protected]

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