2 French soldiers killed in Mali as armored vehicle hit by explosives

Two French soldiers were killed after their armored vehicle was hit by an explosive device in Mali, the French president's office said on Wednesday. France has deployed around 4,000 French troops in West Africa’s Sahel region as part of Operation Barkhane, which is aimed at tackling Islamist militants in the region. Scrubland in the region has been the scene of growing militant violence over the past year, some of which has been perpetrated by groups with links to Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, Reuters said. French forces pushed back a northern Islamist insurgency in Mali in 2013. However, since then attacks have spread further south towards the capital, Bamako, despite the presence of a UN peacekeeping mission.