“Excellent state of mind”: Brigadier Alexandre Martin killed on Saturday in Mali

Brigadier Alexandre Martin, 24, is the 53rd French soldier killed in action in the Sahel since 2013. The young man lost his life on Saturday in Mali in a mortar attack on the military camp of Operation Barkhane in which he was participating , in Gao, announced the Elysée on Sunday. This camp was the target shortly before 5 p.m., Paris time, of “several indirect fire” from mortar shells, from a position located at a distance of “five to six kilometers to the northeast”, indicated the spokesman for the general staff, Colonel Pascal Ianni, to AFP. The assailants, unidentified, but circulating in an area frequented by jihadists, were neutralized.

In total, nine other French soldiers were “slightly injured” in the attack but “their condition does not inspire any concern”, specified the general staff of the Armies in a press release. Brigadier Martin, seriously injured, “was taken care of immediately by the surgical unit on site but succumbed to his injuries”, he added.

A press release from the Elysée expresses the “very strong emotion” of President Emmanuel Macron at the announcement of the death of the soldier of the 54th artillery regiment (RA) of Hyères, and “confirms the determination of France to continue the fight against terrorism in the region, alongside its partners”.

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Military since 2015, his third mission outside mainland France

The soldier has spent his entire career with the 54th RA, which he joined on September 1, 2015, at the age of 18, according to Land Force. “He distinguished himself during his initial training by his excellent state of mind and showed great potential.” It was first deployed several times as part of Operation Sentinel.

In Mali, Alexandre Martin, was carrying out “his 3rd mission outside mainland France”, said the spokesman for the General Staff, Pascal Ianni, on Franceinfo this Sunday. He had notably been sent for short missions to Guyana, as well as to Djibouti. Alexandre Martin, cohabiting and childless, said he had been engaged in Operation Barkhane since October 19, 2021. On BFM TV, Colonel Pierre Bernard, head of the corps of the 54th artillery regiment where Alexandre Martin exercised, greeted a “agile and very determined soldier”.

His death comes as four French soldiers were injured in Burkina Faso on Tuesday when an improvised explosive device (IED) exploded as their vehicle passed. In 2021, there were three combat deaths and one accidental death among French soldiers deployed in Mali.

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The French anti-jihadist force Barkhane, present since 2014 in Mali, covers five countries in the Sahel. From around 5,000 men in the summer of 2021, it should be reduced to between 3,500 and 4,000 soldiers next summer as part of a reorganization of its missions. Barkhane is at the heart of major bilateral political issues, against the backdrop of accusations that Mali has used the services of the Russian mercenary group Wagner. Faced with the open crisis with the Malian junta, France must “find the way” to pursue the objective of the fight against jihadists in West Africa, said Thursday the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly.


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