Malian forces involved in the fight against Islamist militants in the West African country executed 12 civilians in retaliation after a soldier was killed in a May attack, the UN mission in Mali said.
Mali’s fight against jihadist groups in the country has been marred by a series of alleged abuses, some of which government acknowledges.
Those abuses, as well as tit-for-tat attacks by rival ethnic groups, fuel surging violence across vast swathes of Mali, raising doubts about government’s ability to organise a July presidential election.
The UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) said in a statement its investigation concluded Malian troops from the G5 Sahel – a joint task force with Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania – “summarily and/or arbitrarily executed 12 civilians at the Boulkessy cattle market” on May 19.
The report was handed to Mali’s government and Mahamat Saleh Annadif, MINUSMA head , “calls on the Malian authorities to ensure the investigation underway is carried out as quickly as possible”.
There was no immediate comment from Malian authorities.
Mali’s government said last week some soldiers were implicated in gross rights violations after the discovery of mass graves in central Mali. Rights groups allege widespread abuses but government rejects the claims.