A mid-air collision between two helicopters killed 13 French soldiers fighting against militants in Mali, on Monday evening.
“Thirteen French soldiers have been killed in a helicopter crash during an operation against militants in Mali,” the French president's office said in a statement on Tuesday.
French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his "deep sadness" over the incident.
France has had about 4,500 combat troops in west Africa since 2012, when militants captured the city of Timbuktu and threatened to advance into the centre of Mali.
The G5 Sahel, a joint taskforce, was created in 2014 to try to tackle the problem of groups with links to al-Qaida and Islamic State who from their stronghold in Mali have been able to strike across the Sahel, destabilising parts of Niger and Burkina Faso, reports The Guardian.
The G5 Sahel is backed by France and has pooled troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger since July 2017 in an effort to drive back the jihadist groups.