French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his determination to fight Islamic State (IS) extremism in West Africa after French forces killed 33 Islamist militants in Mali.

“We must remain determined and united to face that threat,” Macron, who was on the second day of his three-day trip to West Africa, said in a news conference in Cote d’Ivoire’s main city of Abidjan on Saturday. “We will continue the fight.”

French troops carried out the operation by using attack helicopters, ground troops and a drone in the Mopti region of central Mali, Xinhua news agency reported.

Since 2015, some 4,500 French troops have been sent to West Africa’s Sahel region to help combat extremist fighters and restore security in the area.