A probe by the United Nations has linked France to the airstrike earlier this year that had resulted in the death of 19 civilians. The report also refuted claims that so called ‘Jihadists’ had been behind the attack on a wedding arty, in Mali, in January.
Africa News reports that the UN Mission in Mali together with UN forensic experts had launched investigations into the attack near Bounti in central Mali on January 3. Their report confirms that “indeed there was a wedding ceremony that brought together around 100 civilians at the site of the strike, including five armed persons, presumed members of the Serma Katiba (group)”.
The Katiba Serma is reportedly linked to the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, which is allegedly a so called ‘jihadist alliance’ supposedly affiliated with al-Qaeda.
According to the report, at least 22 people were killed, including three of the alleged members of Katiba Serma. 19 people were killed instantly, while 3 were killed during the evacuation.
France, meanwhile, had rejected accusations of having slayed wedding guests, claiming to have killed fighters. The claim was supported by the government of Mali. Africa News reports that the French armed forces had insisted they had aerial bombed a gathering of ‘armed terrorists’. Villagers, however, reported a helicopter strike in broad daylight that caused panic in the wedding crowd.
At 5000 troops, there is a considerable French military presence in Mali and the Sahel, allegedly to counter fighters linked to al Qaeda and ISIS.
Umm Muhammed Umar