“French airstrikes in Mali total violation of

French airstrikes in January at a wedding party in the West African country of Mali fought “completely in violation of international human rights and international humanitarian law,” a new report said on Monday.

The study, “France’s shadow war in air strikes in Mali at Bounti’s wedding”, was conducted by Stoke-White Investigations, a unit of UK-based Stoke White lawyers.

According to the report, contrary to France’s claim that it attacked an armed terrorist group, Katiba Serma, who is affiliated with al-Qaeda, the attack in the village of Bounti as part of Operation Barkhane on January 3 led to civilian deaths.

The publication, citing an inquiry into the UN multidimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA), said 22 people were killed in the attack – 19 civilians and three suspected members of Katiba Serma. Another eight civilians were injured.

The victims were all men between the ages of 23 and 71, mostly residents of the village.

Operation Barkhane was launched by the French military in 2014 to conduct operations against extremist armed groups in the Sahel region. About 5,100 armed personnel are stationed in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, also known as the “G5 Sahel”.

The survey used interviews, open source intelligence tools and techniques, along with verified sources on the ground.

In consultation with the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), the unit also received data on 51 civilian deaths to incidents involving French forces in Mali between 2017 and 2021.


The investigation team also spoke to the victims of the French attack.

“I attended the wedding … there were groups of people at the wedding party, scattered a few meters. I was injured by the air attack and lost consciousness for a while,” said MM “It was only after I was evacuated to Douentza for medical treatment by doctors without borders, I was told that there had been an attack on the wedding party. “

The victim, whose relatives were killed in the attack, added that he had two injuries, including one to the body and another to the heart.

AD, another victim, said: “I lost my cousins ​​in these airstrikes. I heard the planes and then ‘Boom! Boom! “After a while, we returned to the scene and found several dead and others injured.”

Need for independent investigation

The report called for an urgent independent inquiry into the attack. “The French army ministry must disclose its legal justification for the attacks on the wedding in Bounti, so that it can be judged by legal experts,” it said.

It called on France to release a communications transcript between the drone pilot and all intelligence officers and / or commanders who called in the airstrikes via a pair of Mirage 2000 fighter jets to understand what was happening in real time.

The report also called on France to publish any official or unofficial policy of death in the Sahel region.


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