Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces, General François Lecointre insisted on the terrorist nature of “Islamist insurgents” in Mali, thus responding to the remarks of former hostage Sophie Pétronin.
“French soldiers would never have the idea of taking hostages for the release of French prisoners.” This is the strong response that the Chief of Staff of the French armies wanted to give Sophie Petronin this Wednesday. Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Armed Forces, the Commander-in-Chief of the French Army, François Lecointre, responded to the words of the former hostage held for almost four years on Mali.
At the RFI microphone, she called the Islamist rebels Bamako “armed opposition groups to the regime”. A qualification not shared by the leader of the French army: “The opponent is not an armed group like any other, which would be an armed group of opposition to the Malian regime. It is in fact a terrorist organization, internationally, of terrorist groups that have joined al-Qaeda and whose goal is a goal that is directly contrary to the security of the French, foreign and national territory. . And a terrorist group that also has modes of action that are very clearly terrorist modes of action. And then we can absolutely not imagine that this terrorist group could be designated as an armed group of opposition to the Malian regime, “he said, referring to the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM).
A rhetoric that “distorts” the vision we must have about the conflict in the Sahel, according to General François Lecointre. Similarly, one cannot call these people ‘soldiers’ and imagine that they are comparable to the French soldiers. French soldiers are soldiers of a regular army who fight in accordance with international law in respect of the law of war by controlling their violence and as permanent in addition to the mission they have received with a particularly demanding ethic, ”he believes.
The commander of the French army also used this commission to confirm that France did not take part in the negotiations for the release of the hostages Sophie Pétronin, Soumaïla Cissé and the two Italians.