Malian army and foreign military operation kills 50, says UN

An operation by the Malian army and foreign soldiers kills 50, says the UN

In February, the French president announced the withdrawal of these troops from Mali after a breakdown in relations between Bamako and Paris.

An operation by Malian soldiers accompanied by “foreign military personnel” killed at least 50 civilians in April, says the UN in a new questioning of the actions of the national forces now allied with the Russians.

This is one of the most serious incriminations of the behavior of the Malian security forces in the name of the fight against the jihadists.

MINUSMA, in accordance with the mandate conferred by the Security Council, published its quarterly note on Wednesday on human rights violations between April and June, and examines at length the poorly documented events that took place on April 19 in Hombori (center) and their extensions, which affect the degraded relations between Mali and the former French ally.

That day, Malian soldiers, accompanied by foreign military personnel, led a military search operation in the locality during which at least 50 civilians [including a woman and a child] were killed and more than 500 others arrested, says MINUSMA.

The operation followed the explosion of an improvised explosive device as a military convoy passed. MINUSMA does not provide any details on the foreign fighters in question.

Different sources told AFP at the time that a Russian deployed in operation with the Malian soldiers had been killed in the explosion.

Several Western countries accuse the junta in power in Bamako since 2020 of having added the services of the Russian security company Wagner to the controversial actions. The junta denies and cites the presence of Russian army instructors and old state-to-state military cooperation.

The colonels in power have totally diverted since 2021 from former French comrades-in-arms, who have just completed their military withdrawal from Mali after nine years of engagement.

Impoverished and landlocked Mali has been in turmoil since the outbreak of pro-independence and jihadist insurgencies in 2012. The jihadist spread has reached neighboring Burkina and Niger and threatens to spread even further south.

The Malian army had publicly indicated on April 22 that it had carried out a major search in the Hombori area after being attacked on the 19th. killed 18 assailants and arrested 611 people.

The vast majority have been released. But among the dozens of men held, two died under torture, according to MINUSMA. On April 24, a soldier allegedly summarily killed 20 other prisoners at the Malian army camp in Hombori, she adds.

The events in Hombori continue into a dark case of corpses illustrating the immense mistrust now existing between the Malian and French authorities. The MINUSMA document delivers a version favorable to France.

A man sits in front of a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin during a protest.

In its gradual disengagement, France left and returned to the Malian authorities on April 19 the base of Gossi, several tens of kilometers northeast of Hombori. On April 21, a drone video circulated that the French military said showed Russian mercenaries burying bodies near the Gossi base.

The aim would have been to accuse the French of leaving a mass grave behind them.

The Malian authorities in turn accused the French for having fabricated these fabricated images in order to accuse [the Malian soldiers] of being the authors of the killings of civilians.

MINUSMA says it has opened its investigation. According to her, the remains buried in Gossi were transported there on April 20, the day after the handover of the camp to the Malians, and came from Hombori.

No reaction n&#x27 ;has been obtained from the Malian authorities.

This report comes in addition to others, published by the UN or by independent experts commissioned by the #x27;UN reporting abuses by the Malian army during operations carried out with its foreign auxiliaries.

The town of Moura, also in the center, was the scene in late March of what Human Rights Watch describes as the massacre of 300 civilians by Malian soldiers associated with foreign fighters, possibly Russians. The Malian army denies and claims the elimination of more than 200 jihadists.

In total, the operations of the Malian forces caused the death of 96 civilians in the second quarter , out of a total of 317, including 200 attributable to jihadist groups, says MINUSMA. The army's share of responsibility is down significantly from the previous quarter, she adds.

The junta ensures that it will systematically open investigations if it takes place. But the results of virtually none of these investigations have been made public.

When MINUSMA's mandate was renewed in June, Mali expressed firm opposition to the freedom of movement for peacekeepers for human rights investigations.

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