6th French soldier killed in Mali when vehicle hits roadside bomb; 2 others badly wounded

FILE - This March 8, 2013 photo provided by the French Army Communications Audiovisual Office (ECPAD) shows French soldiers patrolling the Mettatai region in northern Mali. The Security Council unanimously approved a new U.N. peacekeeping force for Mali on Thursday, April 25, 2013 to help restore democracy and stabilize the northern half of the country which was controlled by Islamist jihadists until a France-led military operation ousted them three months ago. (AP Photo/ECPAD, Arnaud Roine)The Associated Press

A member of the French special forces has been killed by a roadside bomb in Mali, the sixth Frenchman to die since the Jan. 11 start of France's military campaign to rid the west African country's north of al-Qaida-linked militants.

A Defense Ministry statement says that two others traveling in the light vehicle were seriously wounded by the blast Monday.

The ministry says the death of the 32-year-old corporal occurred between Tin Zaouaten and Boughessa during an operation aimed at securing the area by chasing extremist groups and destroying their logistics.

The approximately 4,000 French troops quickly chased the radicals from the northern cities and are trying to secure the vast area before exiting. France expects to have just 1,000 troops in Mali by year's end.