UN experts demand investigations into crimes committed by FAMa and Wagner

AA / Bamako / Amarana Maiga

United Nations experts on Tuesday called for an immediate independent investigation into gross human rights violations and possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Mali by government forces and the military and military society. Russian private security company “Wagner”, since 2021.

According to these experts “since 2021, experts have received persistent and alarming accounts of horrific executions, mass graves, acts of torture, rape and sexual violence, looting, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances perpetrated by the Malian armed forces and their allies in the Mopti region and elsewhere, in the context of the ongoing hostilities”.

“We are particularly concerned by credible reports that, over several days at the end of March 2022, the Malian armed forces, accompanied by soldiers suspected of belonging to the Wagner group, executed several hundred people, who had been gathered in Moura, a village in central Mali,” the UN experts said.

They claim that “most of the victims belonged to the Fulani minority” before adding: “We are disturbed by the apparent increase in the attribution of traditional military functions to the Wagner group in various military operations, including operations defined as counter-terrorism , notably in Nia Ouro, Gouni and Fakala”.

These experts emphasize that “Mali must exercise the greatest vigilance to prohibit the direct participation in hostilities of all individuals operating on its territory. The use of mercenaries, mercenary-like actors and private military and security companies only exacerbates the cycle of violence and impunity that prevails in the country”.

The same sources deplore “the lack of transparency and ambiguity over the legal status of the Wagner group, combined with reprisals against those who dare to speak out, creating a general climate of terror for the victims and total impunity for the abuses of the Wagner group.

The FAMa are false against these allegations of abuses in Nia Ouro, Gouni and Fakala, we have always been in solidarity with human rights and the humanitarian rights of the populations explained Colonel Souleymane Dembelé Director of Information and Public Relations of the Armed Forces (Dirpa)

Dembelé denounces intox, speculation against the Malian armed forces.

“We have in our midst, Dogons, Peuls, Bambaras, Sonrhaï, Tuaregs, Arabs. Can we imagine that these Fulani who are among the FAMa will kill other Fulani”, exclaimed Colonel Souleymane Dembelé, adding that “our population, the Malian people, is not a barbarian people”.

He also recognizes that “there are small groups with outdated ideas that are attacking state property, peaceful populations and the FAMa will not let this continue”.

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