French soldier Maxime Blasco, 34, previously decorated for bravery in action during France's military intervention against jihadist forces in the Sahel region of Africa, and who died in combat in Mali last Friday, was posthumously awarded the Légion d'honneur and promoted to the rank of sergeant in a ceremony in Paris led by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Lance corporal Maxime Blasco, 34, was fatally wounded on Friday by a hidden sniper during clashes between French troops and 'around ten' jihadists in Mali, close to the Burkina Faso border, a French armed forces ministry spokesman said, which brings to 52 the number of French military personnel who have died in the region since France launched its anti-jihadist operations in 2013.
European special forces involved in anti-jihadist operations in west Africa's Sahel region were given prime position in the traditional Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on 14 July.
Some demonstrators waved Russian flags and held banners calling for greater cooperation between Mali and Russia.
The attack occurred in the Kaigourou neighbourhood of Gossi in central Mali injuring several soldiers operating under France's Operation Barkhane in the Sahel.
Dadi Ould Chouaib, also known as Abou Dardar, was arrested on June 11 in the flashpoint "tri-border" region between Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso.
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that France will reduce the size of its military mission in the West Africa region of the Sahel where it has been engaged since 2013 in operations against jihadist groups.
Emmanuel Macron says that France will withdraw its troops if Mali turns towards radical Islamism.
Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also says France is seeking an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation.
Olivier Dubois this month appeared in a video appealing to authorities to do everything they can to free him from the group holding him.
French freelance journalist Olivier Dubois, who disappeared in the northern Mali town of Gao on April 8th, appeared in a video on Wednesday appealing for the authorities to secure his release from captivity at the hands of an al-Qaida-linked jihadist group.
Agnès Callamard says justice is being denied over killings of Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in Mali in 2013.
Witnesses to the January attack describe aerial attack on a wedding but French officials claim the gathering was of armed extremists.
Swedish parliament approved the deployment of up to 150 soldiers to the so-called Takuba task force in June last year, with reinforcements of up to 100 others.