France honours 13 soldiers killed in Mali helicopter

2019/12/1575283864.jpg
Read: 783     15:43     02 December 2019    

French President Emmanuel Macron was to lead a national tribute Monday for 13 soldiers killed while battling jihadist insurgents in Mali, a disaster which has forced the nation to confront the costs of a years-long effort in West Africa that appears to have no end in sight.


The soldiers died when their helicopters collided last Monday while chasing jihadists in northern Mali where militant violence has soared in recent months.

Their coffins, draped in the red, white and blue of the French flag, were brought home from the French military base at Gao, near the restive border with Burkina Faso and Niger, on Saturday.

The ceremony will be held at the Invalides military hospital and museum in Paris, beginning at 3:00 pm (1400 GMT), when Macron will bestow the Legion d'Honneur on the fallen soldiers.

Parisians will also be able to pay their respects as the coffins are brought across the Alexandre III bridge and the ceremony will be broadcast on a giant screen set up outside the Invalides.

The crash was the biggest single-day loss for the French military in nearly four decades and raised fresh questions about the effectiveness of France's 4,500-member Barkhane operation in Mali and four other countries in the Sahel.

They are tasked with training local security forces to take on the jihadista, but so far these remain woefully unprepared despite years of pledges of more international funding and equipment.

Forty-one French soldiers have now died in the Sahel over the past six years.

Macron said the government would begin a thorough review of Barkhane in the wake of the helicopter accident, vowing that "all options are on the table."

He also reiterated his call for EU allies to step up their participation in the West Africa operation after years of failing to secure significant support -- only Britain has contributed helicopters and security personnel, while the US provides intelligence on jihadist movements across an area the size of Western Europe.

AFP



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News Line

France honours 13 soldiers killed in Mali helicopter

2019/12/1575283864.jpg
Read: 784     15:43     02 December 2019    

French President Emmanuel Macron was to lead a national tribute Monday for 13 soldiers killed while battling jihadist insurgents in Mali, a disaster which has forced the nation to confront the costs of a years-long effort in West Africa that appears to have no end in sight.


The soldiers died when their helicopters collided last Monday while chasing jihadists in northern Mali where militant violence has soared in recent months.

Their coffins, draped in the red, white and blue of the French flag, were brought home from the French military base at Gao, near the restive border with Burkina Faso and Niger, on Saturday.

The ceremony will be held at the Invalides military hospital and museum in Paris, beginning at 3:00 pm (1400 GMT), when Macron will bestow the Legion d'Honneur on the fallen soldiers.

Parisians will also be able to pay their respects as the coffins are brought across the Alexandre III bridge and the ceremony will be broadcast on a giant screen set up outside the Invalides.

The crash was the biggest single-day loss for the French military in nearly four decades and raised fresh questions about the effectiveness of France's 4,500-member Barkhane operation in Mali and four other countries in the Sahel.

They are tasked with training local security forces to take on the jihadista, but so far these remain woefully unprepared despite years of pledges of more international funding and equipment.

Forty-one French soldiers have now died in the Sahel over the past six years.

Macron said the government would begin a thorough review of Barkhane in the wake of the helicopter accident, vowing that "all options are on the table."

He also reiterated his call for EU allies to step up their participation in the West Africa operation after years of failing to secure significant support -- only Britain has contributed helicopters and security personnel, while the US provides intelligence on jihadist movements across an area the size of Western Europe.

AFP



Tags: