Mali accuses France of delivering arms to Islamist fighters

French troops in Mali

Mali has accused France of delivering arms to Islamist militants and violating its airspace in an attempt to destabilise the country.

Mali's foreign affairs minister, Abdoulaye Diop, said in a letter to the head of the United Nations Security Council, that Mali's airspace had been breached more than 50 times this year - with the majority of breaches by French forces using drones, military helicopters and fighter jets.

The letter said: "These flagrant violations of Malian airspace were used by France to collect information for terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them."

No evidence has been provided showing France supplying arms to Islamist groups.

In a response on Twitter, the French Embassy in Mali said: "France has obviously never supported, directly or indirectly, these terrorist groups, which remain its designated enemies across the planet."

France had a nine-year mission in Mali and according to the Twitter thread, 53 French soldiers died and thousands of Islamist fighters were killed during that time in order to improve security for Malians.

It also added that France has suffered its own Islamist attacks at home.

Mali and France previously had good relations, with France spending years fighting Islamist militants in Mali. However, this relationship has soured and France recently removed the last of its troops from the country.

Image: Wikimedia


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