France - Mali

26 militants 'neutralised' in French-Malian army operation

France's Operation Barkhane in the Sahel
France's Operation Barkhane in the Sahel © AFP/File

A military operation launched this week by Malian and French forces has reportedly eliminated 26 militants.

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Mali's military command said in a statement that the operation took place early Monday in Alatona, near the border with Mauritania. 

According to the mililtary, the operation targeted militants who had staged an ambush on Saturday, although no further details on the attack were provided.

French and Malian troops launched a counter-attack after ascertaining their location.

The Malian army claims "26 terrorists" were killed in the joint operation, "a large quantity of arms" captured along with two pick-up trucks.   

Mali has been struggling to contain a jihadist insurgency which first emerged in the north of the country in 2012, before spreading across the Sahel into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger. 

Thousands of soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict and hundreds of thousands have fled their homes. 

Former colonial power France, which intervened in Mali in 2013 to beat back the jihadists, has 5,100 soldiers deployed across the Sahel region as part of Operation Barkhane. 

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