The French presidency has confirmed through the Defence Ministry that a French soldier has been killed in northern Mali on late Monday evening.
The soldier according to the statement released by the presidency was in the commando division from a parachute regiment who were on a special operation when he was killed by militants in the north.
The statement however failed to give further details on how the soldier was killed in the northern part of the country believe to be the hub for the militants.
This latest death brought to a total number of six French soldiers being killed since France intervened in Mali to fight militants in January.
France began withdrawing some of its 4,000 troops earlier this month and has pushed for a UN-backed peacekeeping force that has been created.
The over 12,000 strong UN peacekeeping forces will be deployed to Mali in July ahead of nationwide elections in that same month.
But France has said that 1,000 of its soldiers will remain for now to pursue al-Qaeda linked militants while other international forces concentrate on securing the main cities and roads.
Some towns and cities have been recaptured by French soldiers but a number of militant fighters are believed to remain in their desert hideouts in the north.
They have resorted to guerrilla tactics in counter-attacking French forces and the current African Union troops in the north of the country.
Chad withdrew its troops from the country saying it troops lack the skills and capabilities in fighting guerrilla warfare in the country.
The UN recently agreed to create over 12,000-strong peacekeeping force for the country alongside strategic advice from France.
The peacekeeping force will incorporate the already 6,000 African Union soldiers in the country to fight the militants.
In the French government statement, President Francois Hollande extended his condolences to the relatives of the soldier killed and praised the determination and courage of French forces in Mali.
Meanwhile, in a related development in the capital Bamako, the Malian security forces say they have arrested at least eight people suspected of plotting an attack for the militant group Movement for Jihad in West Africa MUJWA in a jail break on Monday evening.
Officials said the arrests were the first sign that militants battling French and African Union troops for control of Mali’s desert north have activated cells in Bamako, which is located in the south.
But officials failed to give number of militants who have escaped through the activation of the said cell which was broken by the militants.
Local reporters say a significant number of the militants might have probably escaped the jail break raising questions about the security capabilities of Malian forces.
Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News