More than 20 at Mali wedding ceremony killed in France air strike

January 6, 2021 - 22:46

More than 20 people, including children, were killed in air strikes during a wedding ceremony in a remote desert area of central Mali on Sunday, a health worker with knowledge of the attack said on Tuesday.

A French army source told Reuters that French forces operating in Mali had carried out an air strike in the area on Sunday.

Residents of Bounti, in the central Mopti region, said a helicopter opened fire on the marriage ceremony on Sunday.

Villagers in Bounti said a low-flying helicopter, which has not been identified, carried out the strike in broad daylight.

Witnesses said the attacks appeared to target men on motorbikes who were believed to be militants.

Other villagers in Bounti said a lone helicopter opened fire in broad daylight, sowing panic among the crowd. Ahmadou Ghana said two of his brothers were killed. “It was run for your lives,” he told AFP.

The health worker, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the air strikes had targeted men on motorbikes in the villages of Bounty and Kikara believed to be militants.

But civilians were caught up in the strike as people gathered for a wedding ceremony, the source said, adding that some of the wounded had to receive amputations at a nearby health center.

The identity of the targets was confirmed by drone before the attack and on the ground afterwards, the French army source said.

France has more than 5,100 military personnel based in the region to help counter militants. But a seven-year intervention has come at a cost as forces struggle to contain extremists in the open desert.

Five French soldiers have been killed in the country in recent days.

Comments

  • 2021-01-11 03:17
    The French have always hated Africans and continues to pillage African resources. Peace will not come to Africa, until the French leave.

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