Human Rights Watch: ‘Malian Army killed & maltreated dozens of people’
Charles Nwoke, Bamako, Mali
April 22, 2021
Human Rights Watch on Tuesday, says, the Malian Military Troops are responsible for cases of dozens killed, maltreatment, and disappearances recorded during counterterrorism operations in the country’s central region, Mopti. The HRW’s investigation of regional abuses comes as the UN likewise has launched an investigation into the human rights abuses in the region, as was reported by the BBC on March 30. The UN specifically investigated the deaths of Malian citizens who were killed in a French airstrike. More and more, civilians are drug into the conflict. This investigation concluded that 19 individuals were killed by the airstrike during a wedding.
More on the HRW version of events
The international non-governmental organization in a statement, claims that Malian soldiers have snatched away the lives of at least 34 locales, caused the disappearance of more than 16 persons, and severely maltreated several prisoners.
According to reports, the rights group interviewed people who have allegedly witnessed massacres and beatings committed by security forces from 2020 to this day before they made their findings known to the public.
One of the cases investigated by Human Rights Watch and involved in the report was the abuse of dozens of bus passengers on March 23. Soldiers in Boni allegedly detained, blindfolded, and severely beat passengers after discovering suspicious materials in the vehicle’s baggage compartment.
Another resident of reported abuse involving Malian Military Forces happened on October 22, 2020, after 25 fleeing villagers, including women, children, and the elderly, were murdered.
HRW Sahel Director, Corinne Dufka, said, “Mali’s security forces have shown scant regard for human life during recent counterterrorism operations.
“Committing serious abuses in the name of security only fuels recruitment into abusive armed groups and undermines trust by local populations.”
HRW recommended that the country’s transitional government conduct an impartial investigation to find out if Malian soldiers have committed human rights violations.
Mali human rights complaints
Civilians have been killed by Mali’s army in the past. Below is a report by Euronews that described the killing of civilians in Mali after a soldier was attacked by an armed man in the market place.
Meanwhile, HRW sent a letter to the Malian government on April 7 detailing alleged abuses committed by the country’s armed forces during operations.
The human rights group admitted to receiving a reply from the General Secretary of the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs, confirming an investigation has already been opened.
The Malian top official equally disclosed that several military officers have been questioned to determine the accuracy of witness statements.
Dufka said, “Promising to investigate abuses is a positive step, but the Malian government has failed to make good on many previous such commitments.
“The Malian authorities should rein in abusive units and do much more to ensure discipline in operations, hold abusers to account, and prevent further atrocities.”