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Iran Press TV

Two French soldiers killed, one injured on Mali operation

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 06 September 2020 12:17 AM

Two French military personnel have been killed while on an operation in Mali after an improvised explosive device destroyed their armored vehicle, the French Presidency said.

According to the statement, a third soldier was injured in the blast, which took place in the Tessalit region of Northern Mali.

The soldiers were part of France's Barkhane military operations in Mali against militants.

French President Emmanuel Macron praised "the courage and determination of the French military deployed in the Sahel region" and called for setting up without delay a "civilian political transition" in Mali following the August 18 military coup that toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Large parts of Mali are still outside the government's control and the fight against insurgents has left thousands of people dead since 2012.

In total, 45 French soldiers have died serving in the region since 2013, according to the French military.

International powers fear the ousting of President Keita could further destabilize the West African nation and undermine the fight against insurgents linked to Al-Qaeda and Daesh in the wider Sahel region.

On Saturday, Keita was evacuated to the United Arab Emirates for medical treatment. "He left this evening for Abu Dhabi," his former chief of staff, Mamadou Camara, told Reuters. "It is a medical visit of between 10 and 15 days."

After the coup, Keita tendered his resignation and had been detained for 10 days by the ruling military junta. The 75-year-old was released following pressure from the 15-nation West African bloc ECOWAS.

His health had been of concern since he was hospitalized following his detention. The deposed leader had left the hospital on Thursday after treatment for a mini-stroke. He had been moved to his residence under tight security.

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