Mali: More than 100 civilians killed

BAMAKO, MALI – More than 107 civilians have been killed in recent months in Mali in attacks by Mali’s military and jihadist groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group, the Watch Human Rights said Tuesday.

Of the civilians killed since December 2021, Mali’s soldiers are responsible for at least 71 of those killed, the international human rights organization said in a report.

Mali’s military has objected to some of the reports, adding that it is investigating a number of attacks and allegations.

The military has been accused of abusing civilians in southwestern and central Mali as soldiers try to stem violence from jihadists, who have been staging attacks for nearly a decade. century.

“The victims, most of whom were executed within a short period of time, included traders, village chiefs, religious leaders and children,” the organization said in its report.

Islamic extremists are responsible for killing at least 36 civilians since December, according to the report.

“There has been a significant increase in the number of civilians, including suspects, killed by Malian troops and Muslim groups,” said Corinne Dufka, Sahel director at Human Rights Watch. armed”. “This utter disregard for human life, including obvious war crimes, should be investigated and those found involved, appropriately punished.”

According to HRW, since the crisis in Malian in 2012, civilians continue to pay the price of war, with more than 320,000 people displaced.

The organization said hundreds of civilians were killed, with the participation of extremists, rebels, nationalist militias and security forces. Most of the killings occurred in central Mali, the epicenter of the conflict since 2015, it said.

Jihadists have also targeted and killed hundreds of security force members.

Violence increased as French troops began withdrawing from Mali. Many fear that the jihadists could now take back the territory as France continues to withdraw its troops over the next five months.

France first intervened in 2013, spearheading a military campaign to force Islamist extremists from power in towns across northern Mali. But in the years since, these fighters have carried out numerous attacks against Malian troops and UN peacekeepers.

The rights report comes as neighboring Mauritania accuses Malian troops of regularly abusing its civilians in Malian territory. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mauritania has also summoned the Ambassador of Mali. On Sunday, the prosecutor at the Bamako military court announced the opening of an investigation into Mauritania’s allegations.

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