Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Human Rights Watch said in a statement Monday that Mali’s armed forces and “apparently” the Wagner Group mercenaries “have summarily executed and forcibly disappeared several dozen civilians in Mali’s central region since December 2022.”

Mali’s forces and the Wagner Group have also “destroyed and looted civilian property and allegedly tortured detainees in an army camp,” according to HRW.

The rights group said it has interviewed 40 people who know about the incidents, including “20 witnesses of abuses, three family members of victims, two community leaders, five Malian civil society activists, eight representatives of international organizations, and two Sahel political analysts.

HRW said it has also “reviewed a video showing evidence of abuses by Malian soldiers and associated foreign forces.”

Malian Foreign Minister Aodoulaye Diop urged the U.N. Security Council to withdraw the U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali or MINUSMA “without delay” due to a confidence crisis between Malian officials and the 15,000 members of MINUSMA.

Malian Foreign Minister Aodoulaye Diop urged the U.N. Security Council to withdraw the U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali or MINUSMA “without delay” due to a confidence crisis between Malian officials and the 15,000 members of MINUSMA.

The Security Council has decided to end MINUSMA’s presence in Mali, but its personnel will remain there until December 31.

With the upcoming end to MINUSMA’s presence in Mali, Carine Kaneza Nantulya, HRW deputy Africa director, said, “The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should express their concerns about grave abuses by the Malian armed forces and allied apparent Wagner Group fighters and increase pressure on the Malian authorities to end these violations and hold those responsible to account.”

VOA

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