Two French soldiers died when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in northeastern Mali on Saturday, just days after three others were killed in a similar fashion.
Their deaths brought to 50 the number of French soldiers killed in the West African nation since France first intervened in 2013 to help drive back jihadist forces, according to army staff.
President Emmanuel Macron “learnt with great sadness” of the deaths of Sergeant Yvonne Huynh and corporal Loic Risser in the Menaka region, his office said.
Huynh, aged 33 and mother of a young child, was the first female soldier killed in Mali since the French operation began in the Sahel region.
Risser was 24. Both were members of a regiment specializing in intelligence work.
“Their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device during an intelligence mission,” the French presidency said of Saturday’s incident.
Another soldier was wounded in the blast but the injuries were not life-threatening, it added.