Four Moldovan nationals were killed and three French soldiers hurt on Saturday when a transport plane chartered by France’s army crashed off Ivory Coast, authorities said.
There was a storm over Abidjan early on Saturday, but it was unclear whether heavy weather had played a role in the Antonov aircraft going down.
A French military source said the plane was chartered as part of anti-jihadist Operation Barkhane, under which France maintains a 4,000-man mission in the region.
The operation aims to shore up fragile Sahel countries against Islamists who have carried out a wave of bloody bombings, shootings and kidnappings.
Four French nationals and two Moldovans were hurt, the French military source said, adding that three of the French injured are soldiers.
“There were 10 people on board, Moldovans and French people. The four victims who died are Moldovan nationals,” firefighter Colonel Issa Sakho told local television.
The plane had taken off from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso and crash-landed in the sea near Abidjan, breaking in half, he said.
Local forces were hoping to secure the wreck before it drifted away “so investigators can do their job”, he said.
The wreck could be seen from the beach, where hundreds of onlookers gathered after the crash, an AFP reporter said.