13 Chadian troops, 65 rebels killed in Mali clashes

A Malian soldier holds position in front of the courthouse on Feb. 22, 2013 in Gao. France sent in troops on January 11 to help the Malian army oust Islamist militants who last year captured the desert north of the country. (AFP)

Thirteen Chadian soldiers and 65 militants were killed in a fierce battle in the mountainous Ifoghas region of northern Mali, Chad's military command announced Friday.

“The Chadian army destroyed five vehicles and killed 65 jihadists,” it said in a statement, adding that 13 of its soldiers had been killed and another five wounded.

Earlier this month, around 1,800 Chadian soldiers took control of the northern city of Kidal to secure what had been the rebels’ last stronghold.

Chad promised 2,000 soldiers to the African-led AFISMA intervention force in Mali.

France hopes this force will replace its troops after their lightning offensive that forced the militants from the northern cities into the surrounding desert wilderness and the northern mountains.

Last Update: Sunday, 03 March 2013 KSA 12:48 - GMT 09:48