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French soldiers killed more than 30 Islamist militants during three operations over the past two days, the French army disclosed Friday.
The Liptako-Gourma – a hilly, sparsely populated border region straddling Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso – has experienced an increase in violent attacks in recent months.
A Reaper drone, a Mirage 2000 fighter jet, a Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter and a Cougar transport helicopter were used in two targeted strikes on an area where terrorist fighters had been spotted, revealed French military spokesman Colonel Frédéric Barbry.
The two separate operations were conducted in an area where the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) – which France recently designated the number one enemy in the Sahel – operates.
More troops, less security
Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the number of French troops in the Sahel would be increased from 4,500 to 5,100. The decision came at the end of a G5 Sahel in the southern French city of Pau, where Macron met with invited leaders of Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – countries that make up the G5 Sahel military grouping.
The Pau summit followed increasingly violent attacks, which in turn sparked anti-French protests in the region amid growing dissatisfaction over the military failure to secure the region.
Some experts meanwhile have questioned whether jihadists operating in the remote, chronically lawless transition zone between the Sahara and the African savannah pose a terror threat to France. They also question the Macron administrations continued military support for African leaders with poor track records on corruption, democratic values and tackling human rights abuses by local seRead More – Source