A dozen of Chadian soldiers were killed in Mali during fighting against Islamist rebels 2302132

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Defence News - Mali

 
 
Saturday, February 23, 2013, 05:34 PM
 
A dozen of Chadian soldiers were killed in Mali during fighting against Islamist rebels.
More than a dozen Chadian soldiers died Friday, February 22, 2013, in a fighting in northern Mali which also killed 65 al Qaida-linked Islamist rebels, the Chadian army said. The casualties were the heaviest for African and French troops since the start of their military campaign against the Malian rebels, which hold the northern part of the Western African country.
     
More than a dozen Chadian soldiers died Friday, February 23, 2013, in a fighting in northern Mali which also killed 65 al Qaida-linked Islamist rebels, the Chadian army said. The casualties were the heaviest for African and French troops since the start of their military campaign against the Malian rebels, which hold the northern part of the Western African country.
Chadian soldiers hold up their weapons as they cheer next to tanks and army vehicles ahead of their deployment in Mali.
     

"We deplore the deaths of 13 of our valiant soldiers," the army general staff said in a statement, adding that five rebel vehicles were destroyed and 65 rebels were killed.

A senior Chadian military source said on Saturday his country's heaviest losses during the international offensive in Mali centred around a rebel base that appeared to be of "significant importance" as the militants were not fleeing.

Chad, which has sent 2,000 troops to Mali together with some other African countries, wants to take over the leadership of the operation from France, which plans to withdraw its soldiers starting next month.

Earlier this week, Malian Prime Minister Diango Cissoko announced that large-scale military operations in his country "are coming to an end."

French troops were also fighting in the Adrar area, French President Francois Hollande told a news conference, in what he called a "last phase" of the campaign begun when Paris sent troops to Mali last month to stop a southward push by Islamist rebels who seized control of the north last April.

"These battles will continue," Hollande said on Saturday. "It is the last phase because it is most likely that AQIM's (al-Qaeda's north African arm)forces are hiding there."

 

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