Malian authorities have accused the French army of “spying” and “subversion” when it used a drone to film what France alleged were mercenaries burying bodies near a military base.
The drone flew “illegally” over the Gossi base on April 20, the day after French forces handed the site back to Mali, the government said in a statement on Tuesday.
The following day, the French army shared a video it said showed Russian mercenaries covering bodies with sand to falsely accuse the departing troops of war crimes. Two soldiers could be seen filming the half-buried corpses.
Earlier on Tuesday, Mali’s military announced an inquiry into the discovery of a mass grave at the Gossi base.
The army said it found the grave the day after the images were published, and claimed the bodies’ advanced stage of putrefaction ruled out Malian soldiers’ responsibility.
It subsequently accused France of spying and attempting to sully the reputation of Malian forces with the drone-filmed video.