At least one hundred Islamic jihadists were killed this month in a joint Franco-Malian offensive in the West African country’s lawless centre, the Malian army said Tuesday.
“One hundred terrorists were neutralized, about 20 captured, and several motorbikes and war equipment were seized” during the operation with France’s Barkhane force, which aims to eradicate jihadists in the Sahel region, the Malian army said on its website.
Mali has been struggling with a jihadist insurgency that broke out in the north of the country in 2012 before spreading to the center and then to Burkina Faso and Niger, often inflaming ethnic rivalries.
Mali’s former colonial ruler, France, first intervened in the country in 2013 to help push back jihadist forces advancing on Bamako.
Earlier this month the French military said it had killed 15 jihadists near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso, where an al-Qaeda-linked group is active.
France now has a staggering 5,100 troops deployed across Africa’s arid Sahel region, as part of its Barkhane operation.
NEWS/PHOTO SOURCE: AFP