French troops shoot and kill a woman while patrolling against the jihadist in Mali

12

The French military said Tuesday that its troops shot dead a woman while conducting an anti-Jihadist reconnaissance operation with Malian soldiers in the West African country, prompting an investigation.

The woman died Monday during a joint patrol “in an area where elements of an armed terrorist group have been detected east of Gossi” in the north, the French general staff said.

Soldiers saw two people on a motorcycle but left it behind to flee into the brush when they saw French and Malian troops, the statement said.

“An abandoned assault rifle, ammunition and a military bag are found near the motorcycle,” he added.

The soldiers “chase one of the two individuals into the forest. Four warning shots are fired to stop him, but the latter runs away.”

The individual turns abruptly toward the soldiers who fire to neutralize “the target and then” discover that it is a woman, “suspected of being one of the people on the motorcycle.

“The inhabitants of the nearest village are called to give the identity of this person,” but “no one knows her,” said the General Staff, adding that the body was buried there.

An investigation has been opened “to clarify the exact sequence of events and shed light on this combat action,” the statement concluded.

Deployed to Mali since 2013 due to deadly jihadist activity, a force of some 5,000 French soldiers is now being withdrawn, potentially up to half by early next year.

(AFP)