A French soldier was killed in a mortar attack on a military camp in the northern Mali city of Gao, France’s presidency said on Sunday.
President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “very strong emotion” at the death of Brigadier Alexandre Martin in the attack on Saturday, the Elysee Palace said in a statement.
The death “confirms France’s determination to continue the fight against terrorism in the region, alongside its partners,” the statement said.
Martin, of the 54th artillery regiment of Hyeres, was the 53rd French soldier killed in the Sahel conflict since 2013.
Four French soldiers were injured in neighbouring Burkina Faso on Tuesday when an improvised explosive device hit their vehicle.
Last year three French soldiers deployed in the Sahel died in combat while another died accidentally.
France’s Barkhane anti-jihadist force has been in Mali since 2014. As the jihadist insurgency spread across the Sahel region, it followed.
However, France has started to reduce its troop presence, and relations with Mali deteriorated after a coup in August 2020.
France’s chief complaint is the regime’s refusal to organize early elections to bring in a civilian government.
Paris has also condemned Mali’s alleged hiring of the Wagner group of mercenaries believed to be close to Russia’s leadership.