A French soldier was killed during an operation Saturday morning in Mali, in the region of Menaka, victim of an explosive device, an action claimed in the evening by the jihadist group Islamic State (IS).
ISIS also claimed the attack the previous day against the Malian army in this region, in Indelimane, which killed 49 people while the spokesman for the staff, Frédéric Barbry, told the AFP that the death of the French has « no connection » with the latter.
« Caliphate soldiers have targeted a convoy of French forces vehicles (…) near Indelimane, in the region of Menaka, triggering an explosive device, » said the statement in a statement signed « Province of Africa ». ‘West’, published on its Telegram channels.
The French vehicle « was hit by an explosive device », while part of a detachment « engaged in a convoy escort » 20 km from Indelimane, in the region of Menaka, near the border with Niger, said the Ministry of Defense and the staff.
The victim, Brigadier Ronan Pointeau, 24, who was part of the 1st Spahis Regiment of Valencia, died after « the outbreak of an improvised explosive device at the passage of his armored vehicle », had previously announced the French presidency in a communicated.
The Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, immediately announced that she would go « very soon to Mali, in order to hold talks with the Malian authorities ».
President Emmanuel Macron hailed the soldier’s « sacrifice » and expressed « his thoughts to his comrades engaged in operations in the Sahel », « as well as their brothers-in-arms of the Sahelian armies, who are paying a heavy price in the fight against terrorism « .
Mr. Macron assured « of the full solidarity of the Nation in these painful circumstances ».
On Friday, 49 Malian soldiers were killed near Menaka (northeastern Mali) during a « terrorist attack » attributed to the jihadists. This attack is one of the most serious suffered by the Malian army.
« In a degraded security context, the death of Brigadier Ronan Pointeau shows us that the fight against the terrorist groups that are raging in the Sahel is not over and our determination to pursue it is complete, » the Defense Minister said in a statement. communicated.
Two other soldiers of this regiment had been killed on February 21, 2018 by the explosion of an artisanal mine as they passed their vehicles between the cities of Gao and Menaka, in the so-called « three borders » zone.
Based in Valencia, the 750 soldiers of the 1st Spahis Regiment, heirs to the traditions of the prestigious Moroccan Spahis Regiment, participate in most of the French foreign operations. They wear the burnous, a long cape and are wearing chechia wool.