Soldiers were targeted in the Hombori region in the centre of the poor Sahel state, French presidency says.

The deaths brought to 47 the number of French soldiers killed in Mali since Paris first intervened militarily in January 2013 to help drive back militants in the West African country.
The deaths brought to 47 the number of French soldiers killed in Mali since Paris first intervened militarily in January 2013 to help drive back militants in the West African country. (AFP)

Three French soldiers have been killed in Mali after their armoured vehicle struck an explosive device in the Hombori region in the centre of the poor Sahel state, the French presidency has said.

President Emmanuel Macron "salutes the memory of these soldiers with the greatest respect," the president's office said in a statement on Monday.

He underscored "France's determination to continue the fight against terrorism," it said.

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In 2014, the French replaced Operation Serval with Operation Barkhane which is aimed at countering militants across the Sahel through its bases in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad. (TRT World)
In 2014, the French replaced Operation Serval with Operation Barkhane which is aimed at countering militants across the Sahel through its bases in Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Chad. (TRT World) (TRTWorld)

French deaths soar

The deaths brought to 47 the number of French soldiers killed in Mali since France first intervened militarily in January 2013 to help drive back militants who had overrun parts of the West African country.

France's Barkhane force numbers 5,100 troops spread across the arid Sahel region and has been fighting militant groups alongside soldiers from Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, who together make up the G5 Sahel group.

READ MORE: Three UN troops killed in northern Mali mine blast

Source: AFP