Malian army again accused of abuses

Aziz*’s voice trembles on the other end of the line. “This morning the villagers were still burying bodies. They can no longer count them, there are so many.” is touched by this human rights defender from central Mali. Between Sunday, March 27 and Thursday, March 31, Moura, a village in the Mopti region, was the target of an anti-terrorist operation conducted by the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) and white paramilitaries identified by local and international sources as belonging to the Russian private security group wagner. Five days of blockade, the progress of which could be monitored by… The world from various security and humanitarian sources, Malian, West African and Western.

Among the crowd, armed men circulate in plain sight

Sunday 27 March is a fair day in Moura. The place is known for the quality of its livestock market. In this last weekend before the start of Ramadan, the inhabitants of the surrounding villages flock to buy sheep. Among the crowd, armed men circulate in plain sight. Moura is located in a wooded and flooded area that is difficult to access and has been controlled for years by jihadists from Katiba Macina, a group led by Fulani leader Hamadoun Koufa and a member of the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, affiliated with Al Qaeda). ).

The Malian army, which has continued to see this enemy advance since the outbreak of war in the north of the country in 2012, has decided to go on the offensive in Moura. The intervention, mobilizing several dozen soldiers from the army, air force and special forces, is part of the operation “Kélétigui” (“the one who wages war” in Bambara), launched by the FAMa at the end of 2021 in the central and southern Mali. by their Russian auxiliaries.

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“They made no distinction between the jihadists or the others”

“Helicopters flew over the market, firing at those who tried to flee. Meanwhile, the jihadists lost their weapons and disappeared into the crowd. Malian and Russian soldiers were landed on the ground and that was the beginning of the massacre, supports an African human rights defender. They rounded up the men, executed many of them, ransacked the houses to kill those who hid there. They made no distinction between jihadists or others. †

Many bodies were found in the market, between houses and by a river, some charred, others riddled with bullets. Mass graves were dug by the residents themselves. No one can determine the number, identity or status – civilian or combatant – of the victims of these extrajudicial killings.

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