A French soldier deployed in the Sahel within the framework of the operation antidjihadiste Barkhane died accidentally in Mali on Wednesday, announced the French minister of the armies of Florence Parly. “We learned that a military Barkhane of the 14th infantry regiment of logistical support paratrooper in Toulouse died in operation outside this night, in accidental circumstances,” she said at a press briefing. The corporal Abdelatif Rafik, 23 years old, was deployed to Gao, in the north of the country, she said.

“We salute his memory and offer our most sincere condolences to his family and to his brothers in arms,” added the minister. Wednesday, while he proceeded with two of his comrades to acts of maintenance on a truck, a tire exploded accidentally. Violently thrown to the ground, the corporal Rafik died shortly after, despite emergency care, according to a press release from the army. His two comrades were placed under medical supervision.

death door to 23 the number of French military who died in the Sahel since 2013. Some 4,500 French soldiers are deployed in the Sahel within the framework of operation Barkhane, the successor to operation Serval began in Mali in 2013.

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