A UN report links white-skinned Malian troops to civilian deaths.

The report does not identify the “white-skinned soldiers” who are accused of rounding up older men and boys in a small Malian village, tying their hands behind their backs and blindfolding them. Malian troops then arrived and are accused of beating the men and taking away 29 Mauritanians and four Malians.

“The women waited for the men to return, but were told by relatives a day later that the bodies of the men had been found 4 km (2.4 miles) away. The men had been shot and then burned,” wrote the UN observers, citing testimony they received.

Mali is struggling to stem an Islamist insurgency that took root after an uprising in 2012 and has since spread to neighboring countries, killing thousands and displacing millions in West Africa’s Sahel region. the West.

A UN peacekeeping mission was deployed in 2013 to support foreign and local troops fighting the militants.

Mali’s military rulers seized power in an August 2020 coup and have fallen out with regional neighbors and international partners over election delays, alleged military abuses and cooperation with Russian mercenaries.

A Malian government official told Reuters on Friday that they were not aware of the UN sanctions monitors’ report and did not wish to comment.

The Russian Wagner Group began supplying hundreds of fighters last year to support the Malian army and has since been accused by human rights groups and local residents of participating in massacres of civilians.

The Russian government has acknowledged the presence of Wagner personnel in Mali, but the Malian government has described them as Russian military instructors rather than private security contractors. Wagner has no public representation and has no comment on accusations of human rights abuses.

Source link -88