French soldier's "Call of Duty" look in Mali draws fire on social media
"This kind of behavior is unacceptable," commented Col. Thierry Burkhard, a French military spokesperson, in Le Monde.
"This image is not representative of the actions that France is undertaking in Mali at the request of the Malian state."
Comments on twitter ranged from people criticizing the unnamed soldier for 'believing himself to be in a video game' to those defending him for "risking his life" in combat.
The photo was taken by AFP photojournalist Issouf Sanogo in Niono, central Mali on January 20. Sanogo said that at the time, he didn't think the photograph would cause any controversy.
"At the time, I didn't find the scene particularly extraordinary, nor shocking," he said. "The soldier was not posing. There was no staging involved in this image."