Conflict & Justice

French soldier killed in Mali


French soldiers from the 126th Regiment Infantery carry boxes containing water bottles on April 8, 2013 some 105 kilometers North of Gao.


Joel Saget

The French presidency has announced that a soldier was killed in combat in northern Mali.

The death brings France's toll to six in Mali, where the European country has been intervening since January to help Malian forces fight an offensive by Islamist rebels.

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President Francois Hollande in the government statement gave his condolences to the relatives of the soldier killed and praised the French forces still in Mali.

France started to withdraw its 4,000 troops from Mali earlier this month, but around 1,000 have stayed in the country to pursue militants linked to al Qaeda and other international forces are securing main cities and roads.

French troops have recaptured some of Mali's cities and towns, but many Islamist fighters are thought to still be hiding in the country's northern desert.

The UN will be creating a peacekeeping force of 12,000, including 6,000 West African soldiers already in the country, to help Mali rebuild.

Mali is scheduled to hold its elections in July.