French army command in Mali said French troops killed a civilian and injured two others, amid their visual alerts and warning shots, after a bus did not slow down in a tense region. However, this version of events was challenged by the owner of the bus...
france, mali, civil, unrest
French army command in Mali said French troops killed a civilian and injured two others, amid their visual alerts and warning shots, after a bus did not slow down in a tense region.
However, this version of events was challenged by the owner of the bus company Abdoulaye Haidara, who told AFP news agency that his driver had failed to halt and heard no warning shots.
The incident happened in the north of the conflict-hit country about 50 km from the city of Gao.
The command of the French army said the troops fired warning shots in the ground on Tuesday but two bullets ricocheted and hit the windscreen, wounding three people, including one fatally.
"The seriously injured person was evacuated by helicopter to the [French] Barkhane Force hospital in Gao, but died from his injuries," it said.
"All steps were taken to determine the exact sequence of events," she said, expressing her "sincere condolences to the deceased's family."
Mali is now under the control of military officers who seized power in a coup d'état of 18 August forcing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita 's resignation.
In the weeks leading up to the coup, tens of thousands of opposition supporters had gathered in the capital, Bamako, to protest a disputed parliamentary election, persistent economic woes and a spiraling security crisis that erupted in 2012, when a previous coup allowed separatists from northern Tuareg, allied with an al-Qaeda offshoot, to take advantage of the political instability.
The territorial loss precipitated the present situation, with large swaths of Mali outside the reach of central authority and armed groups affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda capitalizing on intercommunal tensions as they jockey for reach.
Despite the increasing participation of foreign forces — including the French-led Operation Barkhane of more than 5,000 troops — violence in Mali has continued to escalate, claiming thousands since 2012.