French Mirage 3000 aircrafts have been involved in air strikes against Islamist rebels in Mali. REUTERS/ECPAD via Reuters Tv/Handout
More than 100 people including rebels and government soldiers
have been killed in Mali during French air strikes and
fighting over the strategic town of Konna, Malian military
sources and witnesses say.
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.