Mali denounces the violation of its airspace by a French military aircraft

Bamako recalled that France had supported the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS on Mali
Colonel Assimi Goita

AP/BABA AHMED  -   Colonel Assimi Goita

The transitional government of Mali, ruled by a military junta following two coups denounced in the last few hours the violation of its airspace by a French military aircraft.

In a communiqué, the Malian junta claims that an A400 military transport aircraft registered FRBAN flew between Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and Gao (Mali) on Tuesday, in violation of the ban on overflying Malian soil, despite having been challenged by the technical services on the ground.

The note adds that the aircraft had switched off its transponder so as not to be identified and cut off communication with the Malian control bodies, but was identified by the Malian authorities as the aforementioned French aircraft.

Bamako denounces that the French authorities have violated its airspace and recalls that France has supported the harsh sanctions imposed on Mali by the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) to force the military junta ruling the country after two coups d'état to call elections.

Finally, the communiqué warns of the risks to which the perpetrators of these practices could be exposed in the event of further violations.

Tensions between Bamako and Paris have been running high in recent months, with French accusations of the deployment of Russian mercenaries in Mali and the withdrawal of part of the troops of the anti-terrorist military mission that France is carrying out on Malian territory. Air France has suspended flights to Mali until further notice.

Foto de archivo del coronel Assimi Goita (centro)
AFP/MICHELE CATTANI – Colonel Assimi Goita

All this comes at a time when the situation in Mali is particularly delicate, with high insecurity and jihadist groups operating in much of the country, and a transitional government ruled by a military junta that carried out two coups d'état in one year.

The supposedly transitional government promised to call elections next month, but not only has it failed to do so, it has asked for the transition to be extended for between six months and five years, provoking a reaction from African countries.

The ECOWAS countries agreed on Monday to close their borders and suspend trade with Mali - with the exception of certain commodities - and to freeze the bank accounts of members of the ruling military junta.

A day later, these sanctions received the support of France and the European Union.