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French air strikes in Mali kill dozens of militants

France says its forces have killed more than 50 jihadists in air strikes in central Mali.

The French defence minister, Florence Parly, who is in Mali, said the al-Qaeda affiliated militants had been killed on Friday near the borders with Burkina Faso and Niger.

She said weapons and other equipment had been seized.

Ms Parly said France would continue to support the Malian army in its efforts against the jihadists, who operate across the Sahel.

There had been concern that a coup in Mali in August would disrupt counter-insurgency efforts.

More than 5,000 French troops are stationed in the region, but they have been unable to contain the militants.

The vast semi-desert region is also affected by ethnic violence, human and drug trafficking, and banditry.

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