France Raise Alarms Over Civilians Killings In Mali, Involves Army And ‘Russian Mercenaries’
Mali’s army said that it had killed 203 combatants in an operation in Moura late last month, which it termed a “terrorist fiefdom.”
France has voiced its concern over information that hundreds of civilians have been killed in the Malian village of Moura in an operation by elements of the armed forces accompanied by Russian mercenaries.
RFI report that the French foreign ministry said in a statement on Monday that: “France is deeply concerned by information of mass abuses in the village of Moura by elements of the Malian armed forces accompanied by Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group, which are said to have caused the death of hundreds of civilians.”
Meanwhile, on Friday, Mali’s army said that it had killed 203 combatants in an operation in Moura late last month, which it termed a “terrorist fiefdom.”
Though, the announcement came as numerous social media reports in Mali this week alleged that dozens of people, including civilians, had been killed in Moura.
The army’s alleged death toll and the social media reports about civilian deaths remain unverified.
French statement called for the rapid opening of “national and international investigations” to bring the perpetrators of the killings to justice.
“The fight against terrorist groups operating in the Sahel can in no way justify violations of human rights,” the ministry said.
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“Indiscriminate violence against civilian populations only strengthens these groups,” it added.
The European Union (EU) also said on Monday that it was “very worried” about reports of a massacre in Moura, urging Mali to allow investigators to access the region.
However, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called the reports of abuses “very worrying,” adding “The fight against terrorism can in no way justify massive human rights violations.”
France announced in February that it was withdrawing its troops from Mali after a breaking in relations with the country’s ruling junta, ending a near 10-year deployment.
Anger in Paris about the alleged arrival of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group, which analysts say has close ties to the Kremlin, also hastened the French departure.