France military honours

National honours for French soldier killed in Mali

Maxime Blasco, of the 7th battalion of Alpine Hunters, was killed in combat in Mali on 24 September 2021.
Maxime Blasco, of the 7th battalion of Alpine Hunters, was killed in combat in Mali on 24 September 2021. © Etat Major des Armées/AFP

The French soldier killed in Mali last week was granted the Legion of Honour posthumously by French President Emmanuel Macron at a ceremony Wednesday attended by the soldier’s family and members of the government.

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Prime Minister Jean Castex and other members of the government joined Maxime Blasco’s family at the Invalides in Paris for a national homage.

Placing his hands on the coffin, Macron pronounced "Sergent Blasco, I make you an officer of the Legion of Honour”.je vous fais officier de la légion d'honneur."

Blasco, a member of France’s Barkhane antiterrorism force in Mali, was promoted to sergeant after he was killed Friday during an operation to find a suspected militant group near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso.

Members of his unit will honour him at a ceremony in Vacres on Thursday.

He leaves behind an 8-year-old son and his partner, Alexandra, who has said that she would like to marry Blasco posthumously, to honour him.

Blasco is the 52nd French soldier killed in the Sahel region since France started its operations in 2013.

His death comes as France is reorganising its efforts in the Sahel, and pulling out troops, while the military junta in power in Mali is in discussions with the Russian paramilitary company Wagner.

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