HRW Says Malian Soldiers Killed 71 Civilians in 3 Months

Mali Declares Three Days of mourning Over Slain Soldiers (News Central TV)

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) says soldiers in Mali are responsible for the deaths of no fewer than 71 civilians since early December 2021 to date.

The rights group, in a report released on Tuesday, said abuses by the personnel of the Malian Army have increased in the Central and South-West Mali; the Federal Government led by the military junta of Colonel Assimi Goita, however, contested the findings by group.

Since 2012, the insurgency has swept across the country, provoking soldiers to battle an Islamist insurgency. Human Rights Watch has accused soldiers of killing elderly and children.

“There has been a dramatic spike in the number of civilians, including suspects, killed by the Malian army and armed Islamist groups,” said Corinne Dufka, Sahel director at Human Rights Watch. The abuses likely amounted to war crimes, she said.

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According to Human Rights Watch, 36 civilians were killed by Islamist militants during the same period.

Human Rights Watch said the Mali government was investigating the abuses outlined in the report, but denied involvement in the serious incident – this month’s charred bodies of 35 civilians found with holes in the backs of their heads in the Ségou region.

People recently arrested by the army were among the dead, witnesses told Human Rights Watch. The UN is investigating the incident. 

Mali’s troubles date back to 2012 when jihadists took control of a northern separatist uprising. Former colonial power France sent in troops to quell the insurgency in 2013, but al Qaeda-linked groups resurfaced by 2015 and unleashed a wave of violence.

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The attacks continue unabated, despite the presence of thousands of international troops and peacekeepers. The militants control many areas.

As a result, democracy has broken down. The military junta seized power in 2020 due to frustration with the government’s inability to take control.

Recently, the military has admitted that its forces were responsible for executions and other abuses, but few have faced criminal charges.


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