3 Nov 2020
Paris, November 3
The French defense minister said French military forces fighting Islamic extremists in West Africa “handed over” more than 50 jihadists in a recent operation in Mali.
Defense Minister Florence Parly tweeted Monday evening that the French force in the region, called Barkhane, also confiscated weapons and equipment from fighters during the operation last Friday, which she said “once shows furthermore, terrorist groups cannot act with impunity “. Parly is currently visiting Bamako, the capital of Mali, where she met the head of the transitional government.
After the Malian president was ousted in August by a military junta, she called for democratic elections “as quickly as possible” and said the current leadership pledged to guarantee them.
France, which has suffered repeated deadly attacks from Islamist extremists, has thousands of forces in West Africa to help combat extremist groups there.
Islamic extremist rebels were ousted from power in northern Mali after a French-led military operation in 2013, but have regrouped in the desert and now launch frequent attacks against the Malian army and its allies.
Meanwhile, Mali has faced months of political upheaval. Under international pressure, the junta appointed a civilian-led government to rule the country for an 18-month transition period until new elections. – AP