French soldiers killed one woman in northern Mali during a joint operation, the French military said Tuesday.
The military said the shooting occurred Monday in the Gossi region as the French army pursued two suspects who abandoned a motorcycle carrying a weapon and ammunition.
It happened during a Franco-Malian reconnaissance mission after elements of an armed terror group were detected east of Gossi where French soldiers detected two individuals on motorcycles, according to the military.
“At the sight of the French and Malian soldiers, the two individuals abandoned the motorcycle and fled leaving behind an assault rifle, ammunition and a military bag,” it said.
“The soldiers pursued one of the two individuals. Four warning shots were fired to stop him but in vain. Then another individual turned sharply towards the soldiers who applied a neutralization shot only to discover that she was a woman suspected of belonging to the fleeing crew of the motorcycle,” it said.
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Residents of the nearby village were called to identify the body without success and it was buried.
An investigation has been initiated to shed light on the incident.
There was no immediate response from the government in Mali.
France has maintained about 5,100 soldiers in West Africa as part of its Operation Barkhane anti-terrorism force, with its headquarters in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. The operation is being drawn down.