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Four French soldiers wounded in Burkina Faso bomb blast: army

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MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

Four French soldiers were wounded in an improvised explosive device blast in northern Burkina Faso, France's military told AFP Tuesday evening.

"(Their) off-road vehicle activated an IED as it left Ouahigouya airport," the army said in a statement, adding the unit was part of the Barkhane operation, Paris' deployment in the Sahel against a jihadist insurgency.

Four soldiers were wounded, including one seriously, the army said, with the group either evacuated to Mali or France for those in a more serious condition.

Burkina Faso has been struggling with jihadist attacks since 2015, when militants linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group began mounting cross-border raids from Mali.

More than 2 000 people have died, according to an AFP toll.

The flashpoint "tri-border" area is frequently targeted by Islamic State in the Greater Sahara and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) with deadly attacks against civilians and soldiers.

The French army has killed several high-ranking members of ISGS since the start of its military intervention in Mali in 2013.

But in June last year, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a major scaleback in the Barkhane mission to refocus on counter-terrorism operations and supporting local forces.


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