UN report links Malian army to human rights abuses | News

The first quarter of 2022 saw a surge in civilian deaths and rights abuses by the Malian army, the report said.

Killings rose 324% in the previous quarter as civilian deaths and rights abuses surged in the first quarter of 2022 due to a surge in civilian deaths and rights abuses supported by the Malian armed forces and “foreign military elements,” a United Nations report said.

“The Malian armed forces, supported in some cases by foreign military elements, have increased their military operations against terrorism…some of which have sometimes ended in allegations of serious human rights violations,” the UN mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, said in a statement. The report was released on Monday.

The report did not identify “foreign military elements” supporting the army.

In the first quarter of 2022, the total number of people killed by all parties to the conflict (rebels, self-defence groups and security forces) quadrupled in the last three months of 2021, from 128 to 543.

A total of 248 civilians were killed by defence and security forces, the report said.

MINUSMA documented 320 human rights violations by the Malian army between January and March, compared with 31 in the previous three months.

The bodies of the man killed in the latest operation by the Malian military and a suspected agent of the Russian private military contractor group Wagner in the central Mali town of Mora [Al Jazeera]

The report comes as Mali severed ties with former colonial power France, and Russian private military contractor Wagner Group was pulled in to help the government fight an armed insurgency.

The most high-profile case occurred in the town of Mora, where witnesses and human rights groups said Malian troops, accompanied by white fighters, killed dozens of civilians they suspected were insurgents.

“In addition to summary executions, security forces allegedly raped, looted, arrested and arbitrarily detained numerous civilians during military operations,” MINUSMA said.

MINUSMA is investigating but has been denied access to the town. MINUSMA said its request would only be considered after the government conducted its own investigation.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Malian soldiers and white foreign soldiers executed 300 civilians in Mora, in the center of the country, from March 27 to 31.

Concerns about regional instability

Mali’s military, which came to power in a 2020 coup, said it had “eliminated” 203 rebel fighters in Mora.

Mali’s government did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment. Colonel Asimi Goita led coups in 2020 and 2021 before becoming president of the West African country.

Reuters could not reach the Wagner Group.

The landlocked Sahel nation has been hit with violence since armed groups took over the north of the country in 2012. France intervened to drive them out of the area, but by 2015 they had regrouped and launched a wave of attacks in the center of the country.

They have since spread to Niger and Burkina Faso, raising fears of instability in the region.

The military has forged closer ties with Russia, bringing in what are known as military instructors but whom France and others say are operatives for Wagner, the controversial Kremlin-linked security firm.

Western powers have vehemently opposed Wagner’s intervention, warning it could spark violence in Mali and neighboring countries, where communities face growing drought, malnutrition and poverty.

Source link