French Airstrike Killed Mali Civilians: UN Investigation

    Wahyu Dwi Anggoro - 31 March 2021 12:45 WIB
    French Airstrike Killed Mali Civilians: UN Investigation
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    Bamako: A January 3 French military airstrike on the central Malian village of Bounty hit a group largely made up of civilians and killed several of them, United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said on Tuesday.

    The day after the attack, a MINUSMA fact-finding team, made up of 15 human rights officers, and supported by two UN forensics experts and two public information officers, was deployed to investigate the strike, and shed light on the allegations surrounding the deaths.

    As part of their investigation, the team organized at least 115 face-to-face interviews, spoke to at least 200 people during group meetings, and carried out more than a hundred telephone interviews. 

    The experts also studied at least 150 documents, including official statements and news articles, as well as photographs and videos related to the Bounty strike.

    On 25 January, with the support and air cover of the MINUSMA force, the team travelled to Bounty and visited the location of the airstrike, and the alleged burial site of those killed.

    "I welcome the fact that this important work has been carried out by MINUSMA with the cooperation of all parties concerned, in accordance with its human rights mandate," said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, the UN Special Representative in Mali, and head of MINUSMA.

    The French government previously claimed that their Mirage 3000 fighter planes had killed some 30 armed Islamist fighters, north of Bounty, but doubts were cast on these claims, leading the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch to call for an impartial investigation.


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