UN finds France guilty of deadly attack on marriage in Mali
The main combat operations carried out by French troops in Mali have drawn fire from local officials who accuse the French army of having killed civilians, especially during a recent marriage. Nineteen wedding guests and three armed men died in the strike in the village of Bounti, central Mali.
Now, a scathing report from the United Nations mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, agrees with the Malian authorities and confirms the claim that the victims were protected under international law. The French Defense Ministry rejects the report’s conclusions.
Those killed at the party were civilian men. aged 15 to 20, who hunted birds with a rifle among them, local officials said.
“I know all these young people. Some are from my family, ”Mohamed Assaleh Ahmad, mayor of the nearby village of Talataye, told Reuters by telephone. “We have seen these airstrikes in the past here. We never said anything, but this time it’s 100% wrong. “
The report recently published by the UN raises the stakes for France, whose military footprint has grown to 5,100 against 3,000 since the start of its counterterrorism operations in Mali. At the same time, Malian opposition is growing against the former colonial power.
Anti-French demonstrations have taken place regularly since 2013, according to the French magazine Liberation in an article entitled “A rejection of colonialism”.
Yvan Guichaoua, Sahel expert at the Brussels School of International Studies at the University of Kent, said of the French: “(They) want to remain influential in their former colonies and have leadership in this kind of global division of labor. By the great powers.
“But the longer you stay, the more likely you are to be part of the problem,” he warned in an interview with The Associated Press.
According to Africa specialist Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, the French authorities have ignored local realities, such as inter-community revenge and armies operating brutally with impunity to promote the narrative of jihadists with direct links to Iraq and Syria. As a result, a future French exit strategy can be as elusive as victory.
French Defense Minister Florence Parly insists the January 3 military strike was legitimate and rejects the UN investigation methodology, calling for investigation based on unreliable sources.
Some 7,000 people have died in what has been called France’s “war forever”, according to data from the Armed Conflict and Locate Events Data Project.