March 25, 2023

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Mali: The army says it is investigating reports of the killing of 53 civilians

#Mali : Mali’s military said on Saturday it had opened investigations into whether or not 53 civilians were massacred in the center of the country, while condemning the “false” institutions of some media outlets.

“Gendarmerie investigations have been opened to confirm or deny reports that 53 civilians were killed in the village of Gouni-Habe,” the Malian army said at the bottom of a four-page report detailing its operations since late September. .

It does not provide any details about the events or the source of the information mentioned.

Radio France Internationale reported abuse in early September by several local sources, including Malian soldiers, Russian aides and members of a community of traditional hunters in the village of Nya-Oro, not far from Kouni-Habe. region.

RFI talked about rape, sexual abuse, theft and robbery.

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Nia-Oro and surrounding areas, known as a haven for jihadists from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Katiba Masina, have been the scene of operations by the Malian army for days.

The presence of the private Russian company Wagner’s mercenaries with Malian soldiers, whose actions are condemned, is regularly reported.

But the junta, which has been in power since August 2020, denies it and talks about Russian military instructors being sent in the name of old and revived cooperation.

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Mali’s military has long been accused of abuses, including by the UN. Officials respond appropriately to ensure respect for human rights and initiate investigations if necessary. The results of these are almost never made public.

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“The General Staff of the Armed Forces calls for renewed awareness and control against these propagandists, brainwashing and disinformation trends of some media that only aim to create confusion, hatred, division and devastation in Mali,” the military statement said.

Information feedback is more complicated in remote areas such as Nia-Oro, which are almost inaccessible for infrastructure and security reasons.