SHARE
COPY LINK

WAR

Fourth French soldier killed in Mali operation

France said on Wednesday that a fourth French soldier had been killed during fighting against Islamist militants in Mali.

Fourth French soldier killed in Mali operation
Photo: AFP

The presidency said in a statement that the soldier, with the 68th African Artillery Regiment based in Valbonne, had died in combat early Wednesday in eastern Mali, about 100 km from the northern city of Gao.

President Francois Hollande paid homage in the statement to "the sacrifice of this soldier who carried out his mission to free Mali of terrorist groups with courage and devotion."

France has suffered relatively few casualties during its operations in Mali, launched in mid-January to back up Malian forces against Islamist rebels who seized control of the country's vast desert north last year.

On Saturday a paratrooper was killed during an operation to flush out militants from the Ifoghas mountains in northern Mali.

A legionnaire with the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment was killed amid heavy clashes on February 19th and a helicopter pilot died at the very start of the operation.

The French-led intervention quickly ousted the rebels from the north's main cities and fighting has intensified in recent days as efforts focus on hunting down the militants in mountainous areas.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

WAR

French forces tortured and murdered Algerian freedom fighter in 1950s, admits Macron

French forces "tortured and murdered" Algerian freedom fighter Ali Boumendjel during his country's war for independence, President Emmanuel Macron admitted on Tuesday, officially reappraising a death that was covered up as a suicide.

French forces tortured and murdered Algerian freedom fighter in 1950s, admits Macron
Malika, the widow of Ali Boumendjel, pictured in 2001. Photo: Stefan Fferberg/AFP

Macron made the admission “in the name of France” during a meeting with Boumendjel’s grandchildren.

The move comes after Macron in January refused to issue an official apology for abuses committed during the occupation of Algeria – instead, he agreed to form a “truth commission” as recommended by a report commissioned by the government to shed light on France’s colonial past.

Atrocities committed by both sides during the 1954-1962 Algerian war of independence continue to strain relations between the countries.

Boumendjel, a nationalist and lawyer, was arrested during the battle of Algiers by the French army, “placed incommunicado, tortured, and then killed on 23 March 1957,” the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

“Ali Boumendjel did not commit suicide. He was tortured and then killed,” Macron told Boumendjel’s grandchildren, according to the statement.

It is not the first time the real cause of death was acknowledged.

In 2000, the former head of French intelligence in Algiers Paul Aussaresses confessed to ordering Boumendjel’s death and disguising the murder as a suicide, according to the statement.

It added that Macron on Tuesday had also reiterated his desire to give families the opportunity to find out the truth about this chapter of history.

Last month, Boumendjel’s niece Fadela Boumendjel-Chitour denounced what she called the “devastating” lie the French state had told about her uncle.

French historian Benjamin Stora, who wrote the government-commissioned report, has said there is a “never-ending memory war” between the two countries.

The report has been described by the Algerian government as “not objective” and falling “below expectations.”

During his 2017 election campaign, Macron – the first president born after the colonial period – declared that the occupation of Algeria was a “crime against humanity”.

He has since said there was “no question of showing repentance” or of “presenting an apology” for abuses committed in the North African country.

SHOW COMMENTS