The disputed civilian killing in Mali by the French anti-jihadist troops

French soldiers from the French Barkhane Force in Mali French soldiers from the French Barkhane Force in Mali Daphne Benoit, AFP

02 September 2020

French soldiers warning shots, in response to a bus refusing to slow down severely wounded two people and killed one

The French army command in Mali claimed that French soldiers killed a civilian and wounded two others, by accident, on the 1st of September. The incident occurred 50 kilometers from the city of Gao in northern Mali, when a bus refused to slow down in a volatile area. The French troops fired warning shots in the ground, but the bullets bounced back and hit the bus’ windscreen, wounding three people. One of them was seriously injured  and, thus, evacuated by helicopter to the nearest hospital, dying soon after. 

The reconstruction provided by France’s army command was disputed by Abdoulaye Haidara, director of the bus company involved in the incident. According to Haidara, the bus driver claimed that he did not refuse to slow down and that there was no warning from the soldiers. However, the French army command assured that all steps have been taken in order to verify the actual sequence of events. 

Mali’s situation has been deteriorating in the past weeks: on the 18th of August, a military junta seized power, imposing the resignation of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. After the coup, people rallied in the Malian capital to protest against the long-lasting security crisis, the economic crisis and a disputed parliamentary election. The country has been living a critical situation since 2012, when a jihadist coup allowed Tuareg separatists to seize control of some portions of territory in the North. Large swaths of Mali are currently out of central authorities’ control, disputed between different jihadist armed groups. 


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Author: Margherita Curti; Editor: Matteo Consiglio

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