Three French soldiers have been killed in Mali by a landmine, underlining persistent insecurity in the region a month after Islamist militants attacked a luxury beach hotel in Ivory Coast.
The Defense Ministry initially reported one death, and President Francois Hollande’s office said on Wednesday that two others had died from wounds,Fox news reports.
Several others were injured, President Hollande’s office said.
Many soldiers had died in Mali since Paris intervened in its former colony in January 2013, reuters reports.
The defence ministry said a convoy of vehicles was heading north from Gao to the town of Tessalit when a mine exploded under the lead vehicle, BBC reports.
Three other soldiers in the same vehicle were injured by the blast, it said.
About 3,500 French troops are stationed in West Africa to help restore stability after a rebellion in 2012 by ethnic Tuareg rebels in Mali that was later hijacked by jihadists linked to al Qaeda.
The forces drove the Islamists out of urban centers in northern Mali but did not eradicate their networks.
French officials have said that the militants are likely to change their methods and that West African security forces should increasingly prepare for counter-terrorism operations.
Al Qaeda’s north African arm (AQIM) last month said it had carried out an attack on a beach resort town in neighboring Ivory Coast that killed 19 people in retaliation for French military operations in the region.