French legionnaire dies from jihadist attack in Mali

Two French soldiers wait to embark a British Chinook helicopter nearby the new French military base of Gossi, in central Mali.
Two French soldiers wait to embark a British Chinook helicopter nearby the new French military base of Gossi, in central Mali.
Daphné Benoit/AFP

A soldier from France's Foreign Legion has died from wounds sustained during in an operation against jihadists in Mali, President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday.

The death brings to 42 the number of soldiers killed from France's operation in the Sahel region since it first stationed troops there in 2013 to help train and assist local forces against Islamic insurgents.

Macron said in a statement the legionnaire was wounded by a bomb in the West African country on 23 April during "an operation against armed terrorist groups".

In a separate statement, the armed forces chief of staff said a French tank truck was struck by a roadside bomb, wounding two soldiers in the vehicle.

One of the soldiers died on Friday at a hospital in France, while the other remains in stable condition.

Mali is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency that erupted in 2012 and which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives since.

Despite the presence of thousands of French and UN troops, the conflict has engulfed the centre of the country and spread to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.

The French military in recent months has stepped up its offensive and "neutralised" dozens of jihadists since the start of the year.

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