Thirteen French soldiers died in an accident involving two helicopters in Mali on the evening of November 25, 2019. The two aircraft were taking part in combat operations against jihadists.
The crash was announced by the office of the French President Emmanuel Macron. “The President of the Republic salutes with the greatest respect for the memory of these soldiers […] who fell in operation and died for France in the hard fight against terrorism in the Sahel,” the Palais de l’Elysee statement reads.
While they were tracking a group of insurgents in the Menaka region of southeastern Mali, a Tiger combat helicopter and a Cougar transport helicopter collided and crashed, according to the Ministry of Armed Forces. Among the victims were the two pilots of the Tiger, the five crew members of the Cougar, and six soldiers that were being transported.
The French military has been deployed in Mali and the Sahel region since 2013. Operation Serval, followed by Operation Barkhane, has been aimed at pushing back Islamic insurgents in the north of the country. With this new accident, a total of 44 French soldiers have been killed in these operations.