ARMY: Forty-seven French soldiers have died in Mali, since the start of Operation Serval in 2013
Three French soldiers were killed in operation in Mali on Monday, in the Hombori region (centre of the country), where the French anti-terrorism force Barkhane has been concentrating its efforts since January. “Their armoured vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device while they were participating in an operation in the Hombori region,” the Elysee said in a statement.
Brigadier-chief Tanerii Mauri and hunters 1st class Quentin Pauchet and Dorian Issakhanian, who belonged to the 1st regiment of hunters of Thierville-sur-Meuse (Meuse), carried out an escort mission between Hombori and Gossi, in a border area from Niger and Burkina Faso.
Emmanuel Macron “saluted the memory” of the three soldiers
The three soldiers could not be revived despite “the immediate intervention of the medical team present in the convoy and the care provided”, deplored the army staff in a statement. “Air observation and protection means, as well as a rapid reaction force on the ground, were immediately deployed to guarantee the protection of the elements,” he added.
President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “great emotion” and “greeted the memory” of the three soldiers, “who died for France in the accomplishment of their mission”. He also recalled the “determination of France to continue the fight against terrorism”, especially in this region where the Islamic State in the Grand Sahel (EIGS) is rife, declared enemy number one during the Pau summit (south-west of France) in January 2020.
Profonde tristesse à l’annonce des décès du BCH Tanerii MAURI, du 1CL Dorian ISSAKHANIAN et du 1CL Quentin PAUCHET, engagés dans l’opération #Barkhane et morts au combat. Pensées émues de toute l’@armeedeterre pour leur famille, leurs proches et leurs camarades du #1RCH. pic.twitter.com/nA7kxCoOZq
— Chef d’état-major de l’armée de Terre (@CEMAT_FR) December 28, 2020
“They died in the performance of their duty”
General Lecointre, like Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, bowed to the memory of the three soldiers and offered their condolences to “their families, their relatives and their brothers in arms”. “They died in the performance of their duty, while they were engaged in an area where terrorist groups attack civilian populations and threaten regional stability, as well as our own security,” noted Florence Parly.
The deaths of these three soldiers belonging to the 1st regiment of hunters of Thierville-sur-Meuse (Meuse) bring to 47 the number of French soldiers killed in Operation Serval. The toll stands at 48 if we add a soldier who died in Chad in 2013 as part of Operation Epervier. Operations “Serval” (launched in 2013) and “Barkhane” (since August 2014) have some 5,000 French soldiers, deployed in the Sahel, a zone of war and tensions.