French commando dies in helicopter accident in Burkina Faso

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A French special forces commando has died in Burkina Faso during what the French defence ministry said was a training flight in the politically volatile African nation.

The ministry identified the man as a 38-year-old army master sergeant, Samir Bajja, and said he was on board a Caracal tactical troop transport helicopter that crashed Saturday night. Two members of the crew were seriously hurt.

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France has played a role in calming a political crisis that erupted late October in Burkina Faso — a former French colony — when mass street demonstrations toppled president Blaise Compaore.

French President Francois Hollande has acknowledged that his country ensured Compaore’s evacuation to neighbouring Ivory Coast.

French forces are also conducting an “anti-terrorist” operation in the region, based out of Chad.

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