A Mirage 2000-D aircraft flies over the Avord Air Base, central France. A Mirage 2000-D aircraft crashed in Niger on June 9 due to a 'technical malfunction,' the French army staff said. (Miguel Medina / AFP)
PARIS — A French Mirage 2000D fighter jet used to patrol the skies over Mali crashed in neighboring Niger due to a technical glitch, the army said Tuesday.
The two crew members ejected and survived uninjured.
The Mirage was flying back on Monday evening from a mission in Mali, where the French army has been fighting jihadist groups, and crashed half-way between Gao in Mali’s restive north and the Niger capital Niamey, where France has a military base.
“The crew was forced to eject following a technical failure,” said French military spokesman Gilles Jaron.
“The pilot and navigator were retrieved safe and sound.”
The plane, which was worth tens of millions of dollars, is one of six fighter jets being used by the French army in the region.
France sent troops to Mali in January 2013 to combat Islamist groups who had seized control of much of the vast desert north of the country. Around 1,600 French troops are still engaged in operations there.