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Africa

French soldier dies in Burkina Faso helicopter crash

© Issouf Sanogo, AFP file picture | A French soldier deployed to Ivory Coast on April 6, 2013

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-11-30

A French special forces commando has died in a helicopter crash in Burkina Faso in what France’s defence ministry said was a training flight in the politically volatile African nation.

The ministry identified the man as 38-year-old army master sergeant Samir Bajja.

Bajja was on board a Caracal tactical troop transport helicopter when it crashed - injuring two other service personnel as well - on Saturday night.

The ministry did not specify where in the West African country the helicopter crashed.

France has recently played a role in calming a political crisis that erupted late October in Burkina Faso - a former French colony - when mass street demonstrations toppled president Blaise Compaoré.

French military operations in Burkina Faso – called Barkhane - are also part of the French-led mission begun last year to oust al Qaeda-linked militants from an area in northern Mali.

Bajja, who had previously served in Ivory Coast, Chad, Afghanistan and Mali, is the second French soldier to die in Africa’s Sahel since France launched a counter-terrorism operation in five countries spanning the arid region in August.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)

Date created : 2014-11-30

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