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French strike killed 19 civilians, UN investigation finds

An airstrike by the French army, and not just jihadists, killed 19 civilians gathered for a wedding in Mali in early January. This is what a United Nations report concludes at the end of an investigation carried out by the Human Rights Division of the UN Mission in Mali (Minusma).

United Nations investigation concludes that a French army air strike in Mali in January killed 19 civilians gathered for a wedding, not just jihadists, as Paris has maintained so far, report says consulted by AFP.

At the end of the investigation conducted by the Human Rights Division of the UN Mission in Mali (Minusma), supported by the United Nations forensic police, into the events that occurred on January 3 near Bounti (center ), 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”, assures the summary of the report, consulted by AFP.

The UN “recommends” the opening of an investigation

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. At least 22 people were killed, including three suspected Katiba Serma members – 19 instantly, 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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