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article imageRoadside bomb kills sixth French soldier in Mali

By Robert Myles     Apr 30, 2013 in World
France’s Defence Ministry announced yesterday that a French soldier, Master Corporal Stéphane Duval, aged 32, a member of the 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment, died yesterday afternoon in the north-east Mali between Tin Zaouaten and Boughessa.
Corporal Duval was the sixth French soldier to die since French forces began Operation Serval to assist the Malian government last January 11.
The light vehicle in which Master-Corporal Duval was travelling was blown up by an explosive device in the far north of Mali. In the incident, two other French soldiers were seriously injured. Aljazeera reports the dead soldier was engaged in operations aimed at securing the area by rooting out anti-government combatants and destroying logistics. The casualties were evacuated by helicopter to the town of Tessalit. At present, the condition of the survivors is unknown.
In a statement, France’s Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said the death occurred, "in the context of a number of security operations being directed by the French army, which aim to weaken terrorist groups by relentlessly pursuing and destroying all their logistics."
The President of France, François Hollande conveyed his condolences to the family and loved ones of the dead soldier, saying he had the respect of the whole nation. In a statement issued from the Presidential residence, the Elysée Palace, the President said he had learned with great sadness of the soldier’s death and continued, “The President salutes with heartfelt emotion the determination and courage of French forces engaged in Mali, alongside Malian and African forces and expresses his complete confidence in them to successfully complete the final phase of their mission.”
The death of Corporal Duval brings to six the number of French soldiers who have lost their lives since French military operations, known as Operation Serval, began in the troubled Saharan republic on January 11, 2013. A gradual withdrawal of some 4,000 French soldiers sent to Mali is already in progress, as Digital Journal reported on April 9. According to a statement from France’s Defence Ministry last week, it’s anticipated that French forces in Mali will be reduced to around 2,000 by the end of summer 2013.
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