French forces say they have killed at least twelve people in Mali during a military operation in a northern region of the African country.
French army spokesman Gilles Jaron said on Thursday that the people were killed in Mali’s mountainous Adrar des Ifoghas region on Tuesday.
France claims that the victims were militants operating across the troubled region.
The French forces said they had used drones to track down the location of the militants.
French sources also said it was one of the first “successful” missions by US-made Reaper unarmed surveillance drones, which Paris bought at the end of last year to replace its EADS-made Harfang drones.
In January 2013, France invaded its former colony under the pretext of halting the advance of the Tuareg fighters, who had taken control of the north of the country.
Some political analysts believe that Mali’s natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French-led war.
The war has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in northern areas of Mali and has displaced thousands of people who now live in deplorable conditions.