PARIS, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Elysee confirmed Sunday that a French soldier was killed during a mission in northern Mali on Saturday afternoon.
According to an Elysee press release, the soldier was killed in a mortar attack on the Barkhane camp in Gao, northern Mali.
More than 50 French soldiers have lost their lives in France's military deployment in the Sahel region.
Since 2014, France has deployed about 5,100 troops as part of Operation Barkhane to help the G5 Sahel countries -- Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger -- maintain control of their territories while also preventing the region from becoming a safe haven for Islamist groups.
Last year President Emmanuel Macron announced the reform of France's military presence in Mali, saying that the Operation Barkhane would come to an end and the troops would reduce to 2,500-3,000 by 2023.
Despite France's ongoing military operation and the United Nations' peacekeeping mission, terrorist threats still persist in central and northern Mali.