Paris, November 3: France on Monday said it had conducted airstrikes in central Mali resulting deaths of more than 50 Al-Qaeda terrorists. The airstrikes also destroyed 30 motorcycles. According to the French government, airstrikes were conducted on October 30 in an area near the borders of Burkina Faso and Niger. Notably, troops of Mali government are up against insurgents in Burkina Faso and Niger. Mali After Coup: West African Bloc Renews Call For Fresh Elections; 10 Points On The Raging Political Crisis.
"On October 30 in Mali, the Barkhane force conducted an operation that neutralised more than 50 jihadists and confiscated arms and material," French Defence Minister Florence Parly was quoted by news agency AFP as saying. He made the announcement after meeting Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou and her Nigerien counterpart Issoufou Katambe. He has now headed to Bamako. Extremist Rebels Attack UN Peacekeepers in Mali; 1 Killed.
According to Parly, the offensive was launched after a drone detected a "very large" motorcycle caravan in the "three borders" area. When the jihadists moved under trees in order to escape surveillance, two Mirage jets and a drone were deployed by the French force to launch missiles, leading to the "neutralisation" of the insurgents, Parly said. She described the action as a "significant blow" to the Ansarul Islam group.
Military spokesman Colonel Frederic Barbry said that "four terrorists have been captured". Another operation, involving 3000 soldiers, to target the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara was also underway, Barbry added.