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The collision of two helicopters during a combat operation in Liptako.

Published by on November 27th, 2019.



Thirteen French soldiers of the Barkhane force died Monday night in Mali in the collision of two helicopters during a combat operation against jihadists, in a context of high insecurity in the Sahel.

Collision of two helicopters

“These thirteen heroes had only one goal: to protect us,” reacted on Twitter President Emmanuel Macron. The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, deplored a “terrible news” and announced the opening of an investigation into the circumstances of the accident.

Thirteen French soldiers of the Barkhane force died Monday night in Mali in the collision of two helicopters during a combat operation against jihadists, in a context of high insecurity in the Sahel.

This is the heaviest human toll suffered by the French military since the beginning of their deployment in the Sahel in 2013, and one of the biggest losses of the French army since the attack against the French headquarters Drakkar in Beirut in 1983, which killed 58 people.

The accident occurred Monday night during a “combat operation” in Liptako, in the Menaka region, on the borders of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. The French anti-jihad force Barkhane regularly carries out operations against armed groups, including the group Islamic State in the Great Sahara (EIGS).

“These thirteen heroes had only one goal: to protect us,” reacted on Twitter President Emmanuel Macron. The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, deplored a “terrible news” and announced the opening of an investigation into the circumstances of the accident.

The efficiency and the room for manoeuvre of the French army are put to the test by the deterioration of security in the Sahel. Questioned in the National Assembly by a member of the opposition radical left on the strategy of France in the area, the prime minister, Édouard Philippe, hammered that the military action was “indispensable”.

In Pau, a southwestern city where seven of the soldiers were based, a minute’s silence was observed in front of the half-flag City Hall.

In the audience, René Martinet, a former pilot in Pau, between 1978 and 1983, wanted to be present, as a veteran. “I know what it’s like to lose classmates.”

The government of Mali and the president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, have expressed their solidarity with France, whose military are fighting jihadists alongside their national armies

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