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Mali’s army, foreign fighters kill at least 500 people in March 2022, UN report says

Mali’s army, foreign fighters kill at least 500 people in March 2022, UN report says


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The Malian army and foreign fighters killed at least 500 people during an anti-jihadist operation in central Mali in March 2022, according to a report released Friday by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The OHCHR “has reasonable grounds to believe that at least 500 people were killed in violation of norms, standards, rules and/or principles of international law” between March 27 and 31, 2022, in the city of Moura, the report said.

The victims, including about 20 women and seven children, were “executed by FAMA (Malian Armed Forces) and foreign military personnel” who had full control over the area, said the report, which was based on an investigation by the rights division. of man. of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA.

OHCHR also has “reasonable grounds to believe that 58 women and girls were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence,” she said.

He said acts of torture had been committed against people who had been arrested.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called the findings “extremely disturbing”.

“Summary executions, rape and torture during armed conflict constitute war crimes and, depending on the circumstances, may amount to crimes against humanity,” he said in a statement.

The report does not say clearly who the foreign fighters were.

However, he cites official Malian statements about Russian “instructors” helping to fight jihadists.

It also cites comments attributed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the presence of private Russian security company Wagner in Mali.

>> Read more: France says mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group orchestrated ‘French atrocities’ in Mali

The report cites local testimony, gathered by U.N. investigators, that described the foreigners as haggard white men speaking an “unknown” language — indicating they did not speak French, the official language, or English.

Witnesses said foreign soldiers “supervised” the operations, according to the report.

>> Read more: Mali’s ruling junta orders the suspension of FRANCE 24 and RFI





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