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Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:40PM
File photo shows French soldiers in northern town of Gao, Mali.

File photo shows French soldiers in northern town of Gao, Mali.

The office of French President Francois Hollande says the fifth French soldier has been killed in Mali as Paris continues a deadlocked colonial war in the resource-rich African country. According to a statement released by Hollande's office on Sunday, Corporal Alexandre Van Dooren lost his life in Adrar des Ifoghas Mountains after an explosive device detonated under a vehicle carrying soldiers from the 1st Marine infantry regiment of Angouleme. At least three other soldiers were wounded in the incident, the statement added. On March 6, a French sergeant from the 68th African artillery regiment also lost his life in clashes with local fighters in Mali some 100 kilometers from the town of Gao. On March 3, France’s defense ministry issued a statement saying that Parachutist Corporal Cedric Charenton was killed a day earlier during an operation in the Adrar des Ifoghas Mountains near neighboring Algeria. On February 19, a French soldier, identified as Staff Sergeant Harold Vormezeele, was killed following clashes with fighters in the same region. On January 12, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement that a French Air Force pilot had been killed in a helicopter attack one day earlier near the central town of Konna. On January 11, France launched a war on Mali under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who had taken control of the north of the African nation. The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have voiced support for the move. The French-led war in Mali has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions. On February 1, Amnesty International condemned “serious human rights breaches” including the killing of children in the French war in Mali. The rights organization said there was “evidence that at least five civilians, including three children, were killed in an airstrike” carried out by French forces against the local fighters. Some political analysts believe Mali’s abundant natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French war against the African country. MAM/PR/SS
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