Mali’s military junta accuses French army of 'espionage', 'sabotage'
An official government statement has reported more than 50 occurrences of foreign aircraft, particularly those owned by the French military, violating Mali's airspace.
On Tuesday evening, 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 aforementioned drone (…) was there to spy on our brave Malian armed forces,” he added.
See next: The history of French intervention in Mali
The French army officially handed over the Gossi base, which housed 300 French personnel, to the Malian armed forces on April 19, as part of the withdrawal from Mali announced in February.
Earlier, 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.
"We support the decision of the Malian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances of this crime. We hope that those responsible will be found and brought to justice," the Ministry said.
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 have 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 this week.
France had sent troops to the western African country in 2013 with the stated goal of defeating jihadists in northern Mali and the Sahel. The operation ended in February following the deterioration of France's ties with its former colony.