Dozens of civilians killed in April by Malian army & Foreign Troops’ — UN report
At least 50 civilians, including a woman and a child, were killed and more than 500 arrested during a military operation conducted by Mali’s army and “foreign troops” on 19 April, the United Nations’s peacekeeping mission MINUSMA said in a report published on Wednesday (31 August).
The alleged massacre took place on market day in Hombori municipality, in the central region of Douentza, after a Malian military convoy hit an improvised explosive device, according to MINUSMA’s quarterly report on human rights violations between April and June. The UN has repeatedly accused Malian soldiers of summarily executing civilians and suspected militants over the course of their decade-long fight against groups linked to al-Qaida and Islamic State.
The report did not specify the nationality of the foreign military personnel accompanying local troops, but Western countries describe them as mercenaries from the pro-Kremlin Wagner Group. Mali’s military government, which took power in a 2020 coup, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Both Mali and Russia have previously said the Wagner Group is not made of mercenaries but trainers helping local troops with equipment bought from Russia.
The MINUSMA report documents 317 civilian deaths between April and June, 42% lower than the 543 registered during the first quarter of 2022. While insurgents carry out most of the abuses, Malian defense and security forces were responsible for just over a quarter of violent acts against civilians recorded during that period, according to the report. The military has in some cases acknowledged that its forces were implicated in executions and other abuses, but few soldiers have faced criminal charges.