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France says it has captured a senior Islamic State figure in Mali

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By Euronews  with AFP
French forces have begun withdrawing from the Sahel region under pressure from Mali's military junta.
French forces have begun withdrawing from the Sahel region under pressure from Mali's military junta.   -   Copyright  ETAT MAJOR DES ARMÉES / AFP

France has announced that its soldiers have captured a senior figure from the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Mali.

The French Armed Forces Ministry said that Oumeya Ould Albakaye had been captured by Operation Barkhane forces on the night of 11 June.

He was found by anti-terrorist soldiers on the border between Mali and Niger, along with several mobile phones, weapons and "numerous resources".

Albakaye is believed to have carried out terrorist attacks against soldiers and civilians in Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso in an effort to force French soldiers out of the Sahel region.

French authorities say his capture came after weeks of preparation and is "a new success" for the Barkhane operation which "continues the fight against armed terrorist groups".

Tensions between Paris and Mali's military junta have forced 4,300 French soldiers to withdraw and hand over military bases to their Malian counterparts.