Deaths of 19 Civilians in French Airstrike in Mali Disputed by Paris

French airstrike killed at least 19 civilians in central Mali in January
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A French airstrike killed at least 19 civilians in central Mali in January, a United Nations report has said, contradicting claims by officials in Paris that the target of the attack was a gathering of armed extremists.

The accusation will further complicate international and local efforts to combat violent Islamist groups in Mali, which have grown in strength in recent years. It is also likely to fuel anti-French sentiment in Mali, a former colony.

The UN investigation was launched after French warplanes struck a target on 3 January near the remote village of Bounti in the unstable central Mopti province.

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