It has been two months since French forces began a campaign to rid Northern Mali from the rule of a collection of Islamist groups who have held onto the North for almost a year. Last month I reported on the progress that the French have made in the one month since they began their assault and in a blitzkrieg campaign they retook Timbuktu, Kidal, and Gao from enemy forces. In that first month they lost one helicopter pilot to small arms fire from the ground and in late January the French Foreign Legion conducted a combat jump into Timbuktu.
What has happened in the past month? Well a ton but I’m not going to bore you with every small objective and incident that has taken place. Since early February to almost mid-March:
First week of February: French SOF based out of Kidal in Northern Mali begin a new campaign to kill/capture top AQIM leadership as well as securing the many French hostages being held in the region.
February 8th: A second combat parachute jump took place on February 8th in the Northern city of Tessalit by French SOF. The combat jump was followed by an air-landing to reinforce the men on the ground. You can see the footage of the air landing and French SOF on patrol in Tessalit below: