How French drone strikes in the Sahel risk losing 'hearts and minds'

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Two French soldiers were killed this weekend in Mali when their vehicle was targeted by an improvised explosive device, in what was a grim reminder of the difficulties the French military face in their campaign to defeat jihadist groups in the Sahel region. To strengthen its operations, France has begun deploying, for the first time anywhere, armed drones. But, as Rémi Carayol reports, while these have apparently reduced the capacity of the jihadists to launch mass attacks, the drone strikes have also made civilians fearful for their own safety, with the potential effect of losing support for the military campaign.

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The deaths of two French soldiers in Mali this weekend, when an improvised explosive device was triggered beside their armoured vehicle, brought the total number of French military personnel killed in counter-jihadist operations in the country and surrounding Sahel region since 2013 to 45.