PARIS, France––– French and Malian troops killed thirty jihadists during a clash near Mali’s border with Niger, the French military said on Thursday.
The extremists were killed on Sunday, a spokesman for the French army’s general staff said.
Spokesman Colonel Patrik Steiger said the battle, involving a group of about 60 jihadists, occurred on Sunday in the Akabar area. He added that Malian forces sustained “losses” but there were no French casualties.
No French troops were killed or injured in the incident, which took place near the border with Niger, the spokesman said. Steiger was, however, not able to confirm whether there were casualties among the Malian troops.
Malian Colonial master France has deployed around 4,000 soldiers to support countries in the Sahel region, on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, in the fight against Islamist insurgents and international terrorist groups.
Based mainly in Mali, Niger, and Chad, the French troop’s recent activity has been around the so-called “tri-border area” where the boundaries of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso meet.
International military sources say France is also backing a recently-formed joint military force of the so-called G5 Sahel states – Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad – that is intended to carry out a joint and cross-border operation against extremists and global terrorist groups in West Africa.