Bamako says the report does not meet established international standards because it is biased and based on a fictitious narrative
Mali’s interim military government has rejected a report by the United Nations human rights office claiming Malian soldiers and unidentified foreign fighters murdered at least 500 civilians during a five-day military operation last year.
The UN report claimed that, on March 27 last year, Malian forces and foreign personnel arrived in helicopters in the village of Moura in the Mopti region of central Mali and began shooting at residents who were attempting to flee. The report said that, in the following days, hundreds more had reportedly been shot and thrown into ditches.
However, Abdoulaye Maiga, interim prime minister in Bamako, dismissed the claims as being made in “a biased report that is based on a fictitious narrative and does not meet established international standards.”
The acting premier said an investigation into potential human-rights violations during the operation in Mopti is ongoing, but maintains that only terrorists had been killed, not civilians.
The UN report was based on interviews with witnesses and victims, as well as on forensic and satellite evidence. Witnesses told the UN that soldiers had corralled people into the center of the village, shooting randomly at those trying to escape.
Ten lions killed in Kenyan ‘human-wildlife conflict’
“At least 58 women and girls were raped or subjected to other forms of sexual violence. In one shocking instance, soldiers reportedly brought bedding from a house, placed it under trees in the garden, and took turns raping women they had forced there,” the UN stated.
The report also found witnesses reported seeing ‘armed white men’ who spoke a foreign language. These troops were observed operating alongside Malian forces and, in some instances, appeared to be supervising operations.
Maiga said a judicial inquiry has been initiated against the UN fact-finding team for supposedly taking satellite photos of Moura without permission, which his government has deemed a threat to national security.
You can share this story on social media: