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Mali inaugurates more Bayraktar TB2 UAVs

One of the Bayraktar TB2 UAVs that was displayed during the reception ceremony on 4 January. (Presidence Mali)

The Armed Forces of Mali (FAMa) held a reception ceremony for another consignment of Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on 4 January.

Media coverage of the event showed five TB2s, some of them armed with MAM-L laser-guided bombs, lined up on the apron next to the presidential pavilion at Bamako's Modibo Keita International Airport. The FAMa released a photograph showing one had the serial TZ-17D.

The FAMa previously displayed TB2s with serials running from TZ-01D to TZ-06D, so the latest reception ceremony appears to have brought the number delivered to Mali up to at least 17.

The TB2s have become famous in Mali as the ORTM television channel frequently broadcasts footage that the FAMa has released showing the UAVs carrying out airstrikes, purportedly against terrorists, although there have been accusations that civilians have been killed.

Chief of Staff of the Air Force Brigadier General Alou Boï Diarra noted the UAVs' celebrity in his speech during the 4 January reception ceremony, saying Malians were proud their country has such sophisticated systems. He also cautioned that the drones should not overshadow the difficult work that Malian soldiers are doing on the ground.

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