Two French soldiers were killed by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Mali on Saturday, just days after three others died in a similar way.
The two soldiers were taking part in an intelligence mission in Menaka, in northeastern Mali, when their vehicle was hit by an IED. A third soldier was wounded but is stable, President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.
Macron said he “shares the grief of their families, loved ones and brothers in arms and assures them of the gratitude and solidarity of the Nation.”
“The President of the Republic reaffirms France’s determination in its fight against terrorism,” the statement added.
The deaths of Corporal Loic Risser and Sergeant Yvonne Huynh brings to five the number of French soldiers who have lost their lives in Mali over the last week.
Three soldiers died in a similar fashion on December 28 in Hombori, in southeast Mali.
France has 5,100 troops deployed across the Sahel area as part of its Operation Barkhane against extremist groups. Since its launch in 2014, 50 French soldiers have lost their lives.
European Council President Charles Michel has paid tribute to the two fallen soldiers.
“Europe as a whole bows down to the sacrifice of these young people killed far away from home and who, by protecting peace and stability in the Sahel, also strengthen our security in Europe,” he wrote on Twitter.