French media tries to cover up military crimes in Mali: HR activist
The Head of the Russian non-profit organization Foundation to Battle Injustice says the media campaign French outlets launched about what is going on in Mali is designed to cover the French military crimes.
Mira Terada, head of the Russian non-profit organization Foundation to Battle Injustice, said on Thursday that the media campaign French outlets launched in relation to the situation in Mali is based on gross falsification and designed to cover the French military crimes.
During an event in St. Petersburg, Russia, Terada told reporters, "According to the unanimous opinion of the experts of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, the French media are trying to hide the obvious inhuman crimes of the French military with the help of gross and unsubstantiated informational falsification."
Paris no longer possesses the legal basis for carrying out military operations in Mali after the West African nation withdrew from defense agreements with France, Bamako said late Tuesday.
The announcement came a day after the military quit several agreements underpinning French and European missions in Mali.
Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said it would take six months for the formal end of the 2014 joint cooperation agreement signed with France to take effect.
The legal end of agreements signed in 2013 and 2020 on France's Barkhane and Europe's Takuba operations in Mali, however, was effective immediately, he said.
Mali's junta declared on Monday that it was withdrawing from its defense treaties with former colonial ruler France, citing "flagrant abuses" of national sovereignty by French forces stationed there.
The announcement was the latest proof of deteriorating relations between Mali's junta and France.
Late in April, the Mali military accused the French army of “espionage” and “sabotage".
According to a government statement issued in Bamako, "Authorities have seen more than 50 occurrences of foreign aircraft, particularly those owned by the French military, purposefully violating Mali's airspace since the beginning of this year."
It went on to say that one of the most recent instances of "financial outrage" was the fact that "on April 20, 2022, French forces' drone on the Gosi base became unlawful."
Aside from espionage, French forces have engaged in sabotage by distributing bogus photographs accusing the Mali army of killing civilians.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said it supported Mali's intent to launch an investigation into suspected mass graves found near an army base that belonged to the French military until recently.
Moscow also said France should cooperate with Mali on the investigation, warning officials in France and the European Union not to shift the blame for the suspected killings on the Malian forces.
Malian troops had reportedly found bodies buried near the base in the town of Gossi, which had been under the control of French forces until they handed it over to Mali.
The French-led military task force Takuba was founded in 2014 by a number of European countries to advise and assist the Malian military in their fight against terrorism in Sahel.
In mid-February, Mali's transitional government asked France on Friday to withdraw its forces from the Sahel state "without delay", calling into question Paris' plans to pull out over several months.
A government spokesperson added in a statement announced on public television that the results of France's nine-year military engagement in Mali were "not satisfactory".
French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he was withdrawing troops from Mali after a breakdown in relations with the nation's ruling military junta.