Jihadist group claims killings of French soldiers who died in Mali blast

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • The al-Qaeda-linked Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) has claimed responsibility for a blast that killed two French soldiers in Mali.
  • The soldiers, aged 24 and 33, died after their vehicle hit an explosive device, shortly after three other soldiers died in a similar way.
  • GSIM claimed it "detonated an explosive device" as the vehicle was passing, in a statement on its propaganda platform.

Paris – An al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group has claimed responsibility for an attack that killed two French soldiers in Mali.

They died on Saturday when their vehicle hit an explosive device in the northeast, just days after three others were killed in similar fashion.

The deaths brought to 50 the number of French soldiers killed in the West African nation since France first intervened in 2013 to help drive back jihadist forces.

ALSO READ | 2 French soldiers killed after vehicle hits bomb in Mali

The Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) said it "detonated an explosive device" as the vehicle was passing, "bringing the toll to five in less than a week", in a statement released by its propaganda platform Al-Zallaqa late on Monday.

The attack killed corporal Loic Risser, 24, and sergeant Yvonne Huynh, 33, the mother of a young child and the first female soldier killed since the French operation began in the Sahel region.

The GSIM also denied responsibility for an attack on two villages in western Niger on Saturday which killed 100 people – the biggest single massacre of civilians in the Sahel's eight-year-old Islamist insurgency.

'Most dangerous' group

"This attack, whoever carried it out, is not different from the massacres of the French occupiers and criminal militias, the GSIM said, adding that its "jihad" has not turned against the people, and vowed reprisals.

The group appeared to be referring to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), its great rival in the region and with whom it has clashed violently in recent months.

One year ago, French President Emmanuel Macron designated the EIGS as the number one enemy in the Sahel region.

Since then, the GSIM has grown in strength, and in November, Barkhane force commander Marc Conruyt named the group the "most dangerous" in the region.

France's Barkhane operation counts 5 100 troops spread across the arid Sahel region and has been fighting jihadist groups alongside soldiers from Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, who together make up the G5 Sahel group.

The GSIM statement was authenticated by SITE Intelligence, which monitors jihadist activities worldwide.

Did you know you can comment on this article? Subscribe to News24 and add your voice to the conversation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Would you choose to continue working from home after the coronavirus lockdown if given the option?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, it's much better for me
40% - 6609 votes
No ways! I can't wait to get back to the office
12% - 1942 votes
A mixture of both would suit me best
48% - 7948 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.61
(0.0)
GBP/ZAR
20.02
(0.0)
EUR/ZAR
17.37
(0.0)
AUD/ZAR
11.13
(0.0)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(0.0)
Gold
1,743.98
(0.0)
Silver
25.25
(0.0)
Platinum
1,204.50
(0.0)
Brent Crude
62.95
(-0.4)
Palladium
2,641.93
(0.0)
All Share
67,191
(+0.2)
Top 40
61,459
(+0.3)
Financial 15
12,123
(+0.8)
Industrial 25
87,544
(+0.1)
Resource 10
68,608
(+0.2)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo