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19 civilians killed in a French strike according to the UN, France refutes

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                According to a report from the UN Mission in Mali, 19 civilians gathered for a wedding died in a French army airstrike targeting jihadists in January near Bounti, in the center of the country.  France refutes any blunders and expresses "reservations" on this investigation.

                                    <p>A United Nations investigation concludes that an airstrike carried out by the French army in Mali in January killed 19 civilians gathered for a wedding, and not just jihadists, as Paris has maintained until then. 

Paris immediately reacted by the voice of its French Ministry of the Armed Forces which on Tuesday, March 30 refuted any blunders and expressed “many reservations” on this report.

At the end of the investigation carried out by the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in Mali (Minusma), supported by the United Nations forensic police, into the events that occurred on January 3 near Bounti, in the center of the country, the Minusma “is able to confirm the holding of a wedding celebration which gathered at the site of the strike a hundred civilians among whom were five armed people, alleged members of the Katiba Serma”, provides the summary of the report, consulted by AFP. The Katiba Serma is affiliated with the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, or JNIM in Arabic), a jihadist alliance itself affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

Governing these conclusions, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces has “reaffirmed[é] forcefully “that” on January 3, the French armed forces carried out an air strike targeting an armed terrorist group identified as such “near Bounti. It” has many reservations as to the methodology adopted “and” can only consider this report provides any evidence contradicting the facts as described by the French armed forces “.

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Minusma recommends rethinking strikes

At least 22 people were killed in the strike, including three of the suspected Katiba Serma members – 19 at the time, 3 during their evacuation – the document claims.

The affected group “was overwhelmingly made up of civilians who are people protected against attacks under international humanitarian law,” says Minusma.

The Minusma “recommends” to the Malian and French authorities to launch “an independent, credible and transparent investigation”. She advocates examining, and even modifying, pre-strike processes. It also recommends that the French and Malians seek to establish responsibilities and grant, if necessary, compensation to the victims and their relatives.

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With AFP


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