Over 100 dead in French strikes and fighting in Mali

BAMAKO Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:23pm GMT

1 of 11. A still image from video released by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) on January 12, 2013 shows French Mirage 3000 aircrafts in flight.

Credit: Reuters/ECPAD via Reuters Tv/Handout

Related Video

Related Topics

BAMAKO (Reuters) - More than 100 people including rebels and government soldiers were killed in Mali during French air strikes and fighting over the strategic town of Konna, Malian military sources and witnesses said on Saturday.

An army officer at the headquarters of Mali's former military junta in Bamako said nearly 30 vehicles carrying Islamist fighters had been bombed and "over 100" rebels had been killed in fighting.

"We have driven them out, we are effectively in Konna," Malian Defence Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Diaran Kone told Reuters. "We don't know if they have planted mines or other traps, so we are moving with caution. There were many deaths on both sides."

A shopkeeper in Konna said he had counted 148 bodies in four different locations in the town. Among the dead were several dozen uniformed government soldiers. Others wore traditional robes and turbans.

Fighters from the Islamist coalition that currently controls northern Mali do not wear military clothing.

A resident in the town of Gao, the stronghold of the MUJWA Islamist group, said fighters had begun arriving with their dead on Friday.

"Electric power is available at the mortuary, which is not always the case. And the Islamists have bought plenty of burial mats," the man said.

(Reporting by Adama Diarra and Tiemoko Diallo; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Another conflict surrounding the eviction of locals whom stand in the way of energy profits.

Jan 12, 2013 1:25pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Looks like the Islamists within Libya are going to get very rich at the end of all this.

Jan 12, 2013 2:07pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.