The Transitional Military Government of Mali has confirmed the discovery of a mass grave near a former French military base, after officials in Paris claimed that the bodies had been deliberately placed there in an attempt to discredit France.
The bodies found were in a state of advanced decay, according to a statement released by the Malian military’s PR department on Friday night.
A patrol discovered the bodies last week not far from the Gossi army base in the south of the country, the statement said, adding that an investigation was planned.
Earlier on Friday, France accused Russian mercenaries active in Mali of forging a mass grave in an attempt to discredit the French military following its decision to withdraw its troops from the country.
The French military used a drone to film mercenaries who moved and buried bodies at Gossi military base shortly after the French forces stationed there withdrew, a spokesman for the French army told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) in Paris. on Friday.
Videos showed how the mercenaries filmed and photographed the dead, he said, with the images later shown on social media along with comments saying that this was the legacy of the French troops stationed there.
The Russian mercenary group Wagner moved in after the base was returned to Mali by France on April 19, and then most likely published the film on the internet, the French military spokesman added.
The dead are believed to be people who died in the fighting in the region shortly before French forces left the country, the spokesman said.
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