BAMAKO, 8 January 2021 – Mali’s defense ministry has denied news reports that a French airstrike in a remote Malian village hit a wedding party instead, killing at least 19 civilians.
Details about the raid on the village of Douentza, in a remote central region of the country, remain unclear, except that the French denied killing civlians and locals made counter claims.
An advocacy group for Fulani herders, Jeunesse Tabital Pulaaku, on Thursday published a list of 19 people it said were killed.
The list, according to the group, included the father of the groom.
“Thos who were killed were civilians,” writes Reuters, citing the leader of the advocacy group, Hamadoun Dicko.
“Whether there were jihadists around at the moment of the raid or not, I don’t know,” Hamadoun Dicko added.
In addition to the list of 19 victims listed as killed, the organization provided the names of seven people who were reportedly injured during the raid.
Those injured were villagers reportedly attending the weeding as guests when the airstrike occurred.
The French defense ministry has said its airstrike targeted and hit only jihadist militants.
Reuters cited a health worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, as saying the civilians had been mistakenlyhit in the strike.