Thirteen soldiers from France’s Barkhane force in Mali were reported killed on Monday 25 November 2019 when two helicopters collided during an operation against jihadists in the country’s north. Six officers and a master corporal were among the victims.
Tiger attack helicopter collided with a larger Cougar military transport helicopter. The collision occurred on Monday evening while the forces were engaging the fighters who have staged a series of deadly strikes in northern Mali in recent weeks.
It was regarded as the heaviest loss for the French army since the 1983 attack on the Drakkar building in Beirut, in which 58 paratroopers were killed.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron share in the pain of their families and their loved ones and expresses his deepest condolences, and assures them of the unalloyed solidarity of the French nation.
France has around 4,500 troops in the country as part of its Barkhane operation. They also train local security forces but also participates in operations against the insurgents
The victims bring to 38 the number of French soldiers killed in Mali since the intervention began.
Mali has sustained a wave of insurgency strikes on army outposts and other targets, with more than 50 killed over just a few days in early November.
Mali is one of the countries in the Sahel region of Africa that has been captivated in the eye of the jihadist storm since 2012, along with Niger, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.