- The two died after their vehicle hit an improvised electronic device.
- The French President Emmanuel Macron sent his condolences to the families and friends of the deceased.
- France has over 5,000 troops in the country helping in the fight against the militants.
Two French soldiers have been killed and one left with injuries during an operation in Tessalit, northern part of Kidal province in Mali. The two died after their vehicle hit an improvised electronic device. The soldiers were members of the Paratroop regiment based in Tarbes, southwestern France. France began its military operations in Mali in 2013.
The French President Emmanuel Macron sent his condolences to the families and friends of the deceased adding that the fallen heroes made a huge sacrifice in protecting lives.
The attack comes at a time when the country is under pressure for the formation of a transition government following the August 18 coup that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Last week France called on the military Junta to quickly organize for a civilian transitional government in Mali.
The French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly expressed her concerns over the political crisis in the country saying it will create a loop hole for militant groups active in the country. A delay in having the government will undermine the campaigns against the militants in the larger Sahel region.
France has over 5,000 troops in the country helping in the fight against the militants.
Similar calls were made by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS also urged the military to immediately transfer power to a civilian led transitional government adding that an election should be held within a year. ECOWAS held a series of mediation talks in the country, it continually backed Keita calling for a unity government something the opposition totally rejected.
Following the coup, ECOWAS halted financial support to the country, shut borders and also suspended Mali from its institutions but the group reveled that once the coup leaders heed to their calls the sanctions will be lifted. The regional bloc stated that the head of the transitional government will not be allowed to vie for fresh presidential elections.
Attacks on French troops in Mali are common. In July this year, a soldier was killed when a French military base near Gossi town in the northern part of the country was attacked by al-Qaeda affiliated militants.
In November 2019, 13 French troops were killed after a helicopter clash in the country. It was one of the biggest blow to France in its effort to fight the militants.
Mali has continually struggled to contain Islamic insurgency that has ripped through the country since it erupted in 2012 and has since claimed thousands of military and civilian lives. The violence in the country has since spread to its neighbors Niger and Burkina Faso.
According to the UN figures, about 4,000 people were killed in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso in 2019 and thousands others displaced. The countries are members of the French-backed G5 Sahel group, a taskforce created by the region’s leaders in 2014 which aims to fight militants.