French troops, fighting militant groups in the Sahel region south of the Sahara Desert, launched an operation in the forest of Foulsare on Saturday, a statement by the regional forces said on Sunday.
Troops from Operation Barkhane killed or captured the 20 militants and discovered large amounts of arms, ammunition, rocket launchers, and explosives in the forest, according to the statement.
French fighter jets also bombed several arms depots in the forest.
According to a local resident, many militants fled on foot when planes arrived to drop bombs in the area.
Early last month, a French soldier was killed in clashes with the militants in the area.
Around 4,000 French soldiers have been deployed across five countries in the region in an operation launched in 2014. France says the goal of the mission is to fight militants in Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, and Burkina Faso.
Mali’s north fell to militant groups in 2012. A French-led military intervention in January 2013 drove out the militants and Mali regained control of the region, but insurgents still remain active across large parts of the restive north.
The United Nations also set up a mission in Mali in 2013.
The region remains unstable, however.Source: Press TV