French ground forces and military helicopters killed a jihadist commander linked to al-Qaeda in Mali along with four other people, the French army announced on Friday.
The operation on Tuesday targeted Bah ag Moussa, military leader of the Islamic extremist group RVIM, which was on a UN sanctions list and suspected of being responsible for multiple attacks against Malian and international forces in the country, said French military spokesman Colonel Frédéric Barbry told reporters. Friday.
Surveillance drones helped French forces in Mali identify Moussa’s truck in the Ménaka region of eastern Mali, which was then targeted by helicopters and 15 French commandos sent to the scene, said said Barbie. The five people in the truck were killed after ignoring warning shots and firing into French forces, he said.
He described it as an act of self-defense and said the bodies had been handled in accordance with international humanitarian law. He would not say whether allied forces, including the United States, provided intelligence to the operation.
A statement from the French defense minister said Moussa was in charge of training new jihadist recruits. It was the latest of multiple French actions in Mali in recent weeks that have killed suspected terrorists.
France has thousands of troops in a force called Barkhane in West Africa to help fight extremist groups. Islamic extremist rebels were driven from power in northern Mali after a French-led military operation in 2013, but have regrouped in the desert and now launch frequent attacks against the Malian army and its allies.
The French army announced its latest operation on the fifth anniversary of the Islamic extremist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris, targeting the Bataclan concert hall, cafes and the national stadium.
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