Moussa Faki Mahamat
Moussa Faki Mahamat

Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat on Tuesday extended condolences following the death of 13 French troops in a helicopter accident in Mali.

Thirteen French troops were killed in a helicopter accident during an operation against jihadist fighters in Mali, the French President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced on Tuesday.

“The President of the Republic announces with deep sadness the death of 13 French troops in Mali on the evening of November 25, in an accident of their two helicopters during a combat mission against jihadists,” the Elysee said.

“Following the tragic accident of two French army helicopters that left 13 dead, I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the victims, and to the French government,” the chairperson of the 55-member pan African bloc said in a twitter post on Tuesday.

According to French media reports, the accident happened when the two military helicopters, “Tigre” and “Cougar,” collided while flying at a very low altitude. The helicopters were deployed to back up the French troops who were tracking down jihadist fighters in southeast Mali.

The loss was among France’s biggest in a single military operation, bringing the death toll of French troops in Mali to 38, said reports by state-run France Info.

Jihadist fighters have staged a series of deadly strikes in Mali in recent weeks. On Nov. 2, a French soldier aboard an armored vehicle was killed by a roadside bomb while patrolling Mali’s eastern border region, a day after some 50 Malian soldiers were killed in a “terrorist attack” on a military post in northeast Mali. Enditem

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