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French soldier dies in Mali fighting extremists, 2nd in days

PARIS (AP) — A French Legionnaire who was a member of France’s Barkhane Operation fighting Islamist extremists in the Sahel died Monday in combat in Mali, authorities said. Kevin Clement was the second Legionnaire to have died within three days.

He was killed in a battle “with terrorists” in Mali’s Menaka region in the area known as the three borders region where Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso borders meet. It is known as a danger zone because of numerous attacks by jihadis. The exact circumstances of his death were not immediately made public.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly said in a statement that Barkhane troops were working in the three borders region with soldiers of the G5 Sahel force, a coalition of five Sahel countries fighting extremists along with Barkhane forces.

Both Clement and Dmytro Martynyouk, who died Friday in a military hospital outside Paris, were from the same cavalry regiment based in Carpiagne, near Marseille. His tanker had been hit by an improvised explosive device in Mali on April 23 and he and another soldier were evacuated to Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron sent his condolences to Clement’s family and his “brothers in arms” of the French Foreign Legion who are among the 5,100 soldiers in the anti-insurgent Barkhane operation that began in 2014.

Macron expressed France’s continued “determination to work for peace in the region.”

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