Mali’s Interim Government Rejects UN Report On Killing Of 500 Villagers By Military
Mali’s interim military government on Saturday rejected the latest United Nations human rights office report that claims that at least 500 people were killed by Malian soldiers and unidentified foreign fighters during an anti-jihadi operation last year, reported Reuters.
“The transitional government vehemently denounces this biased report that is based on a fictitious narrative and does not meet established international standards,” government spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga said in a statement on Saturday.
Mali’s government spokesman said there were zero civilian fatalities during the military operation in Moura and that only terrorist fighters were killed.
The government condemned what it called a biased report based on a fictitious narrative, and also expressed surprise that the UN investigators had used satellites above Moura to gather information, without the clearance of the government.
It said that an investigation is being launched into espionage, an attack on the external security of the state, and military conspiracy.
The statement was released a day after the UN released its long-awaited report into the events that happened in the central town of Moura between March 27-31, 2022.
The report said Malian soldiers and foreign personnel reached Moura in helicopters on March 27 last year and opened fire on fleeing residents. It said that hundreds more were shot and thrown in ditches in a roundup in the following days.
The OHCHR report said that the organization has reasonable grounds to believe that 58 women and girls were victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence. It said acts of torture had been carried out on people who had been arrested.
Mali’s government spokesman said a state investigation into possible human rights violations during the operation was still ongoing. He reiterated that Islamist fighters were killed rather than civilians.
The figures cited by the UN human rights organization amount to the worst atrocity the Sahel country has experienced since a jihadi insurgency flared in 2012.