According to French President, Emmanuel Macron, 33 militants were killed in an operation in Mali by French forces. During a visit to the Ivory Coast, Mr. Macron announced this, reiterating his country’s commitment to fighting jihadists in the region. The main purpose of the visit was to celebrate Christmas early with French troops. Weeks ago, France had the biggest single-day loss of life for its military since the 80’s, where 13 French troops died in a helicopter crash. Insecurity and violence continues in other countries despite Mali’s army recapturing the territory. In support for the forces of Mali, there are about 4,500 French troops serving in Operation Barkhane. The French also support Mauritania, Chad, Niger and Burkina Faso forces.
The operation that took out the 33 terrorists happened in the middle of a night near the Mauritanian border. With the help of Barkhane forces, the french were able to “neutralise” the terrorists, free two Malian gendarmes who were held hostage, and take one prisoner. Mr. Macron announced during the Christmas visit to Ivory Coast that he “vowed” to give “new forces” to fight against Islamist militants in Africa’s Sahel. This announcement comes just as West African leaders discuss combating the spread of jihadist violence. This discussion took place in Nigeria in a meeting, where the president of Nigeria announced that the jihadists were the greatest threat to the region.