hundreds of civilians massacred in coordinated attacks (HRW)

AA/Bamako/Amarana Maiga

Hundreds of people have been killed in Mali since March 2022 by armed groups, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, noting that tens of thousands more have been forced to flee their villages following systematic attacks.

According to the document: “Since the beginning of the year, armed groups aligned with the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) have attacked dozens of villages and massacred large numbers of civilians in the vast areas of northern -eastern Mali, Ménaka and Gao, which border the Niger” affirming that “these attacks have largely targeted the Daoussahak ethnic group, a Tuareg tribe”.

The report consulted by Anadolu Agency points out that “between May and August, Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with 30 witnesses of attacks that took place between March and June against 15 villages in the regions of Ménaka and Gao” explaining that ” witnesses described groups of heavily armed men riding motorcycles and other vehicles around their village, shooting indiscriminately, summarily executing men and other villagers, looting and destroying property”.

And to add: “tens of thousands of people who have lost their livestock, their means of subsistence and their valuables have fled elsewhere in Mali or to neighboring Niger”.

“A number of armed groups are active in the region and implicated in serious abuses. Security analysts believe that ISGS now largely controls three of the four administrative circles in the Ménaka region through various armed groups,” the document continues.

In addition, former Tuareg rebel groups, aligned with the Malian government since a 2015 peace accord, are present, including a Daoussahak faction of the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA-D) and the Self-Defense Group Tuareg Imghad and allies (GATIA) we explain.

The same source reports that “there were almost weekly media reports of killings, destruction of villages and mass displacement of civilians in Ménaka and Gao earlier this year. In May, the media reported on attacks against several villages in the Ménaka region”.

The NGO also believes that “the Malian government should do more to protect villagers who are particularly at risk of attack, and provide them with greater assistance”.

Human Rights Watch notes, in this regard, that “Malian security forces and United Nations peacekeepers should reinforce their presence in the affected regions, intensify protective patrols and help the authorities bring justice to the victims. and their families”.

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