The Malian military says it has expelled a French journalist from northern Mali who had documented civilian deaths blamed on Malian soldiers.

Lt. Col. Nema Sagara said Thursday that Dorothee Thienot, who has worked for French newspapers, was ordered by soldiers to leave the northern town of Gao.

Sagara said that Thienot had been trying to "ruin the image of the Malian military" with her reporting.

Earlier this year, Thienot was the first to document a number of bodies of civilians who had been thrown into a well in the central Malian town of Sevare.

Human rights groups have since accused Malian soldiers of killing civilians they accused of having links to Islamic extremists.

Thienot says she returned to the capital of Bamako after soldiers showed up at her place and demanded she leave Gao.