Pilot killed in France military drive in Mali ‘was doing his job – mother

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BESANCON, France, (AFP) – The mother of a helicopter pilot who died in Mali during a French-backed military drive to stop Islamist radicals from advancing southwards was merely doing his job, his mother said Monday.

Marie-Claire Boiteux said she had been “living with this sort of fear” for 22 years about her son Damien being killed in action.

“My son was doing his job, risking his life for peace in Mali and in France as well, because if Al-Qaeda is not stopped, it will one day threaten France.”

The 41-year-old was killed on Friday when French planes and helicopter gunships joined the Malian army to stop the rebels linked to Al-Qaeda holding the north from making further inroads into the government-controlled south.

“There are dangers in all professions, one can also die while crossing the road,” said Boiteux, whose elder son Pierre-Alexandre served in Afghanistan.

She said Damien Boiteux had “wanted to be a helicopter pilot since the age of seven.” He had served in several flashpoints, including the former Yugoslavia and Ivory Coast, as well as in Djibouti, Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

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