10:30 GMT +326 May 2019
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    French forces patrol in the desert of Northern Mali along the border with Niger on the outskirts of Asongo, Northern Mali.

    French Soldier Killed in Northern Mali

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    The Elysee Palace said that a French soldier was killed during a special military operation in northern Mali.

    PARIS (Sputnik) — A French soldier was killed during a special military operation in northern Mali, the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

    "The President of the Republic was deeply saddened to learn of the sudden death of a soldier of the first Parachute Regiment of Pamiers during airborne operations in Almoustarat region of Mali last night," the statement read.

    According to the statement, French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the deceased soldier and expressed condolences to his family and friends.

    Mali faced a military coup in 2012, when President Amadou Toumani Toure was overthrown due to his failure to deal with a Tuareg separatist uprising in the country. The revolt attracted various Islamist groups to the state. After the coup, power was transferred to a transitional government. Incumbent Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita assumed the office in 2013.

    In January 2013-July 2014, France held the Serval military operation in Mali aimed at ousting the jihadists from the country's north. In August 2014, it was replaced by the Barkahane operation, designed by the so-called G5 Sahel, comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, and launched to eradicate terrorism in the region. So far, the French forces comprise about 4,000 servicemen.

    The United Nations has been running a stabilization mission, MINUSMA, in the turbulent African country since 2013 to counter Islamist militants


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