France’s President Francois Hollande has said that French troops will begin withdrawing from Mali in April.

The “final stage” of the military intervention will take place in March and from then on “there will be a decrease in the number of French soldiers in Mali as African forces will take over,” the president said during the six-nation European Union defense summit in Warsaw.

Hollande also stated that “terrorist leaders” of the Islamist militants in Mali have been killed as a result of the military operation, noting the campaign’s “successes.”

France’s Mali campaign death toll rises to 4

A fourth French soldier deployed in an eight-week-old military campaign againstIslamist rebels in Mali was killed on Wednesday, the French government said.

The soldier, a sergeant from the 68th African artillery regiment, was killed during an operation in eastern Maliaround 100 km (60 miles) from the town of Gao, President Francois Hollande's office said in a statement.

Dozens of Islamist fighters linked to al Qaeda have been killed as French and African forces have fought to drive them out of the northern Malian region they have controlled since last April.

Voice of Russia, Reuters, RT



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