On 3 January 2021, the French military bombed a group of men gathered near the village of Bounti, in central Mali. All were “terrorists”, according to officials from France, which had a military presence in the Sahelian country from 2013 to 2022.
A UN inquiry published three weeks after the attack rejected this hypothesis. Of the 22 people killed, 19 were civilians attending a wedding. The other three were armed men belonging to the Katiba Serma, a mysterious jihadist group. France has always contested the UN report, claiming to have shot down “jihadist fighters” identified after conducting a long “intelligence operation”.