A roadside bomb killed three French soldiers Monday, according to the French government, which said their armored vehicle struck the explosive device in the Hombori region of Mali.
The soldiers were part of France’s Operation Barkhane mission, which is fighting an Islamist extremist insurgency in Africa’s Sahel region.
They were working as part of a 5,000-troop mission “in an area where terrorist groups are attacking civilians and threatening the regional stability,” according to Florence Parly, France’s defense minister.
The French Defense Ministry has identified the soldiers as Brig. Chief Tanerii Mauri, 28, Fighters 1st Class Dorian Issakhanian, 23, and Quentin Pauchet, 21.
French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated in a press statement “France’s determination to continue the fight against terrorism” and praised the efforts of the soldiers in restoring peace and stability in the troubled region.
Forty-four other French soldiers have died since January 2013 when French troops began their mission in the Sahel.
In September, three soldiers in an armored vehicle hit an explosive device in Tessalit, also in northern Mali. Two of them died and the third was injured.
Jihadists have killed thousands of civilians and soldiers in recent years as they expanded their activities to other parts of the region, such as Burkina Faso and Niger.