Mali accuses France of violating its airspace to “spy” on its troops

The Malian junta has accused the French army of repeated violations of its airspace in order to “spy” on Malian soldiers in the field, the latest episode in the deterioration of relations between Bamako and Paris.
In a statement released Tuesday evening, the junta said it had recorded more than 50 “deliberate” violations of the temporary no-fly zone over central and northern Mali since the beginning of the year.
According to Malian authorities, a majority of these violations have been committed by French aircraft or drones, with the aim of “espionage, intimidation, or even subversion.
One of the infractions mentioned in the communiqué concerns the “illegal” overflight by a French drone of the Gossi military base in central Mali on April 20, the day after France transferred control of this base to Malian forces as part of its gradual withdrawal from the country.
Malian authorities also denounced repeated overflights by French aircraft of a convoy of Malian troops en route to Gossi on April 21.
After the return of the Gossi base, a video posted on social networks accused the French soldiers of leaving behind a mass grave of civilian bodies, an accusation to which the French army responded by releasing its own drone footage, which it said showed Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group burying the bodies.
The Malian army said last week that its soldiers had discovered a mass grave near Gossi after transferring control of the base, saying the rotting state of the bodies proved that the deaths had occurred long before they were discovered.
“In addition to espionage, the French forces were guilty of subversion by publishing false images fabricated to accuse the Malian armed forces of killing civilians,” the junta said in a statement Tuesday.
In Paris, neither the foreign ministry nor the army staff responded to an immediate request for comment.

About Geraldine Boechat 1952 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia