Gao, Mali, 26 Rabiul Akhir 1434/8 March 2013 (MINA) – France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has made a surprise visit to Mali where French troops have been waging a war since early this year.
On Thursday, Le Drian met with French troops near a rocky desert valley called Ametetai valley in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains which has been the focal point of recent clashes.
Describing Chadian soldiers who helped France-led war on the West African country as France’s brothers, Le Drian said, “We are in the last sanctuaries. It is here that the conflict and the fighting is the most violent.”
“There will be fighting tomorrow. There will be fighting in the coming days,” he added, according to Press TV reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Friday.
Around 4,000 French troops have been deployed to Mali since France launched a war on the Western African country on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who had taken control of northern Mali.
At least four French soldiers and 26 Chadian troops have lost their lives in clashes with local fighters since January.
The French-led war in Mali has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions.
On February 1, Amnesty International condemned “serious human rights breaches” including the killing of children in the French war in Mali.
The rights organization said there was “evidence that at least five civilians, including three children, were killed in an airstrike” carried out by French forces against the local fighters.
Some political analysts believe that Mali’s abundant natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French war against the African country. (T/P09/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).