The French army staff announced on Saturday a new operation by the Barkhane force in northern Mali against jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda. It took place Friday evening near In Tillit, 80 km south of Gao, in the north of the country, said Colonel Frédéric Barbry, spokesman for the staff.
The latter spoke of a “predation zone” disputed by the two major rival groups in the region, the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) affiliated with Al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in the greater Sahara ( EIGS).
The group of fighters was spotted and hit by a drone, before about thirty soldiers belonging to the Mountain commando intervened, supported by two Tiger attack helicopters. The operation was completed in the middle of the night. The French army does not deplore any casualties and took two prisoners, of which no details were communicated.
“This coordinated operation between different components of the Barkhane force allowed […] to seize or destroy their armaments, their means of communication and about twenty motorcycles, ”said a statement from the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
This strike is one of the latest linked to Operation “Bourrasque”, which mobilized for a month some 3,000 men, including 1,600 from Barkhane, 1,100 Nigeriens and 300 Malians and which has already claimed the death of “several dozen” of jihadists, added the spokesperson for the French general staff.
The EIGS was designated last January as enemy number one in the Sahel by French President Emmanuel Macron. Since then, the GSIM, also called RVIM (Rally for the Victory of Islam and Muslims) by the French army, has grown in strength.
Last week, during her first trip to Mali since the coup d’état of last August, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly claimed the “neutralization” of 50 jihadists linked to Iyad Ag Ghaly’s GSIM during a operation carried out on Friday, in the area known as the “three borders”, near Burkina Faso.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr