10 April 2018

Mali: Suspected Militiamen Killed in Mali Military Detention

Bamako — RIGHTS groups have urged Mali to investigate the alleged killing of at least 27 suspects detained by the army on allegations of belonging to Islamist terror groups.

The suspects reportedly died between February and this month (April) following their arrests during a major offensive in the central Mopti region.

Corinne Dufka, associate Africa director at (HRW) said multiple accounts of mass arrests followed by the discovery of common graves pointed to the army's involvement in atrocities in the area.

HRW called on the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta to conduct credible investigations.

"Prompt government action is needed to stop the abuses and bring those responsible to justice," Dufka said.

The rights group is appealing to government to suspend officers implicated in abuse pending investigations and ensure detainees are treated humanely.

The army has said that it was investigating two of the reported cases.

It is not the first time the army is fingered in violations.

In 2017, HRW documented the existence of graves with remains of some 14 men killed in custody after arrests in three villages in Mopti.

The Defense Ministry committed to investigate the allegations.

"This is all the more reason for a credible independent investigation by civilian authorities," Dufka said.

Militant Islamic groups in the West African country are involved in warfare against government forces.

They are advocating for autonomy of some regions.

In 2013, the United Nations deployed 15 000 peacekeepers to enhance security, with mixed success.

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