World Bulletin/News Desk
Ten Chadian soldiers were killed in combat in northern Mali's mountainous border with Algeria where rebels regrouped after losing urban areas to a French-led offensive, Chad's army said on Sunday.
The latest Chadian fatalities came in an area of the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains where 13 Chadian soldiers were killed in clashes on Friday that centred around what one senior commander said was a rebel base of "significant importance". At least 93 rebels have been killed in fighting in the area so far, Chad's army said.
The casualties, the heaviest by African troops since a campaign against armed rebels began six weeks ago, highlight risks that the French-led coalition becomes entangled by guerrilla war as it helps Mali's weak army.
"In the course of the clean-up operations, the bodies of 28 other terrorists were found in the combat zone ... Ten more of our soldiers fell," said a statement from the army general staff read on state radio.
"The final toll from the clashes ... and clean-up that followed is as follows: 93 terrorists ... on the side of the enemy. We deplore the deaths of 23 soldiers and 30 wounded," the statement said.
Troops from neighbouring African nations, including 2,000 Chadians, have deployed to Mali and are meant to take over leadership of the operation when France begins to withdraw forces next month.Last Mod: 25 Şubat 2013, 12:15