Soldiers of France's Barkhane mission patrol in Tillit on November 1, 2017 in central Mali. AFP / Daphn
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Malian soldiers killed by a French military strike in northern Mali in October were hostages of Islamist militants, not deserters turned extremist as French authorities' say, Mali's president said in a newspaper interview published Sunday.Malian and French officials have given contradicting accounts of the Oct. 23 strike on a camp of the Ansar Dine militant group, which the French army said took 15 Islamists "out of action". Islamist militants seized northern Mali in 2012 and French forces intervened a year later.
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