France's silence over civilians killed by Malian soldiers in joint operations


A year ago the French military bombed a wedding ceremony at Bounty in Mali, killing 22 men, of whom 19 were civilians. This terrible blunder was widely covered by the media at the time. But abuses committed in the following weeks and in the same region by the Malian army passed unnoticed. As Rémi Carayol reports, it would have been hard for French troops, who were on the ground with their Malian colleagues as part of a wide-ranging counter-insurgency operation, not to have been aware of what was going on. Yet the French military have remained silent about the incidents.

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It remains the worst blunder committed by the French military since it began its antiterrorist war in the Sahel region of northern Africa. Just over a year ago, in the early afternoon of Sunday January 3rd 2021, a French Mirage 2000 jet bombed the area around Bounty, a village inhabited by the Fula people in a remote part of central Mali. The air strike killed at least 22 people who were taking part in a wedding ceremony.