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Death of a French soldier targeted by a suicide attack in Mali

(B2) A soldier from Operation Barkhane died in Mali in the explosion of his vehicle targeted by a suicide attack

Early in the morning, this Thursday, July 23, a convoy of the French anti-terrorist operation in Mali on a reconnaissance mission was hit by a "suicide vehicle loaded with explosives on the RN16 linking Gossi to Gao" (150 km west of Gao), indicates a press release from the French army (1).

First Class Tojohasina Razafintsalama, of 1er regiment of hussars parachutists (RHP) of Tarbes, which was in one of the light armored vehicles (VBL) was mortally wounded. The immediate intervention of the medical team present in the convoy could not do anything. Two other soldiers from the VBL crew were also injured and evacuated to Gao military hospital.

The unit immediately engaged in combat. Two Tiger helicopters, then a Reaper drone, were deployed to support the elements on the ground. For the General Staff, the " high pressure “put by Barchan force” on armed terrorist groups is strong. The enemy is at bay " and " severely weakened”. More “he is still capable of delivering blows” (2).


  1. The Élysée delivers a slightly different version speaking of a soldier " killed in combat against armed terrorist groups, following the detonation of an improvised explosive device as his armored vehicle passed ". So from a classic IED.
  2. This rather optimistic official language contrasts with the reality of groups that have succeeded in renewing their troops. This closely resembles the language used in Afghanistan for years. We spoke then of groups so hard hit that they were reduced to doing desperate acts. The reality was slightly different with mobile groups, always threatening, even capable of carrying out complex attacks.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).