The minister for the Armed forces Florence Parly has lauded “an action-scale, complex, and daring that has allowed to neutralize one important detachment terrorist at the heart of which was probably one of the main assistants of Iyad ag Ghali, dr Hamadoun Kouffas, chief of the katiba Massina”. This operation, in the region of Mopti, “a combined action of many air assets: aircraft, Mirage 2000, helicopters Tiger and Gazelle, supported by drones, Reaper, mothership C135 and helicopters to manoeuvre. Air strikes have helped to achieve an effect of amazement on the lens”, has detailed the staff.
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The chief of staff of the army, general François Lecointre, emphasized that, “the careful preparation and perfect coordination of the whole of the French forces deployed in the Sahel which led to the success of this operation. This last brand a success in the fight led by the French army alongside the malian armed forces, those of the joint force of the G5 Sahel and the Minusma, the security situation in Mali and the Sahel”.
4500 French soldiers deployed in Mali
Florence Parly, for its part, estimated that the raid “carries a serious blow to a terrorist organization particularly brutal. It has referred to repeatedly, civilians and the symbols of the authority of the malian State”. “The weakening of terrorist groups is essential to consider the return of public services, access to education, the gradual normalisation of daily life. Military action is only effective if it is followed by a development policy”, added the minister.
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The region of Mopti, in central Mali, has been, in recent months, more and more infiltrated by the jihadist groups, defeated by the French army during the operation Serval in January 2013, but which benefit from wide expanses of desert in the region to regularly replenish their fighting groups. About 4500 French soldiers are deployed in the Sahel within the framework of operation Barkhane, the successor to Serval.