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Russia arms Mali with firearms amind French war

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French soldiers patrol an area in the city of Gao, Mali, February 13, 2013.

The head of Russia’s arms export agency says Moscow has delivered a consignment of arms to Mali and may send more weapons amid the ongoing French-led war on the African country.

Anatoly Isaikin, the director of Rosoboronexport, said on Wednesday, “We have provided firearms, and the last delivery was made two weeks ago. Negotiations are under way over smaller additional supplies.”

France launched its war on Mali on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters in the country.

On January 17, the foreign ministers of the European Union agreed to back up France in its operations in Mali by launching a military mission to train and restructure Mali’s embattled army.

Thousands of people in Mali have been forced to flee their homes amid the French-led war.

On February 1, Amnesty International condemned “serious human rights breaches” including the killings of “three children” in the war on 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.

Analysts believe motives to exploit untapped resources including oil, gold and uranium are behind the French-led military campaign in Mali.

Chaos broke out in the African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said the move was in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country.


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