Malian officials said they would investigate the disappearances of Mauritanians on their territory which caused the diplomatic row between the two countries.
According to an announcement by the foreign ministry, Mauritania summoned Mali’s ambassador on Tuesday to “protest recent crimes committed by regular Malian forces against our defenceless and innocent citizens on Malian territory.”
The statement did not specify how many people were missing or further lay out its allegations against Malian forces.
Late on Wednesday, Abdoulaye Maiga, Mali’s government spokesman, said Mali would investigate the incident and send a delegation to Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital.
“The government of Mali underlines that, at this stage, there is no proof to implicate the Malian armed forces,” he said.
Due to the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in January, Mali is especially dependent on the goodwill of Mauritania, as its borders with many of its neighbours are closed. Mauritania does not belong to the bloc.
The sanctions were imposed by ECOWAS after Mali’s ruling junta announced plans to delay elections to restore democracy to the country after two coups. read more
Mauritania’s government said in statements this week that its citizens had been killed in the past by Malian forces committing “recurring criminal acts,” and that Mali had committed to addressing the issue.
Malian soldiers have repeatedly been accused by the UN of summarily executing civilians and suspected militants during their decade-long campaign against groups tied to al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
The United Nations recently launched an investigation into the killings of dozens of people in central Mali. The Mali government denied that the army was responsible.
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