The Malian and French governments should promptly and impartially investigate the French airstrike on January 3, 2021, in central Mali that killed 19 people alleged by local residents to be civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. In a January 7 statement, the French armed forces said the attack was carried out at about 3 p.m. by two Mirage 2000 fighter jets that delivered three bombs on “a group of about 40 adult men,” killing about 30 they claim were armed Islamist fighters, north of the village of Bounti. […]
The three Bounti residents who spoke with Human Rights Watch each said independently, however, that there was a wedding and that the men had gathered separately from the women and children due to gender segregation restrictions imposed by armed Islamist groups active in the area.
They said that the wedding had been planned over a month earlier and that people had come from other towns and villages to attend. The marriage, which the family had arranged several years earlier, was between a 16-year-old girl and a 25-year-old distant relative. Child marriage is lawful in Mali and 54 percent of girls in Mali marry before age 18. A sheep had been slaughtered and prepared in the village and women were about to deliver the meal when the attack occurred, the residents said. […]
A statement by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders or MSF) an international nongovernmental health organization, said that most of the eight men they treated were elderly. An ambulance with an MSF logo carrying three gravely injured attack survivors was forcibly held for several hours by unidentified armed men on January 5, leading to the death of one of the patients. Läs artikel