A video spreading online and purported to show a French soldier training rebels in Mali is old and has been taken out of context.
It first appeared online alongside the misleading claim in July 2021, but started spreading again this week as clashes between the Malian army and rebel groups intensify .
The video actually shows a soldier from Operation Barkhane training members of a special battalion of the Malian army comprised of members of the Malian armed forces, former members of both rebel and pro-government armed groups.
Operation Barkhane was a French force set up in 2014 to fight jihadist groups in several countries in the Sahel region. It ended last year.
In the video, a badge of Operation Barkhane can be seen on the shoulder of the soldier’s uniform.
A Malian army official had confirmed to the AFP news agency in 2021 that the video had been taken during a training session.
A spokesperson for France’s armed forces told the BBC they believe the video has been “intentionally taken out of context” and is an attempt to undermine the credibility of France and its armed forces in Africa.
“This publication is an informational attack designed to make people believe that French troops deployed in the Sahel are training and arming terrorists, which is totally untrue,” the spokesperson said.