In Mali, the military judiciary opens an investigation into the Mora massacre

On Wednesday, April 6, the Malian military judiciary announced the opening of investigations into the recent events in Mora (center of the country), as testimonies reported a mass execution of civilians by Malian soldiers and foreign fighters.

after “The allegations of alleged violations against civilians, and the National Gendarmerie opened investigations on the instructions of the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Affairs in order to shed full light on these allegations.”The prosecutor of the military court of Mopti, a large city near Mora, wrote in a press release. The prosecutor will go ” very soon “ The statement added that he is on site with investigators and a medical examiner.

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The Malian authorities, dominated by the army that came to power by force in 2020, have come under pressure from all sides to open an independent investigation into the events that took place between 27 and 31 March in Mora, in the region of one of the main centers of violence in the Sahel region.

Diagonally conflicting versions

The Malian army and witnesses interviewed by the press or the NGO Human Rights Watch give diametrically opposite accounts. The first says to be “neutralize” 203 jihadists during a major operation. The latest report refers to a series of summary executions of civilians, rapes and looting by Malian soldiers and presumed Russian foreign fighters. Human Rights Watch says 300 civilians, including some suspected jihadists, have been executed “Worst Episode of Atrocities” committed since the outbreak of violence in Mali in 2012.

The United Nations independent expert on human rights in Mali, Alioune Taine, on Wednesday mixed his vote with those of France, the United States, the European Union and the Malian Human Rights Commission to demand an investigation.

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United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York that the United Nations had opened an investigation and that experts from the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were seeking to visit the site. ” as soon as possible “. However, this trip is subject to the goodwill of the financial authorities. The press release from the Mopti Military Court says nothing about the possibility that its investigations will include non-financial investigators.

Denouncing impunity

In January 2021, investigators from the MINUSMA human rights department visited the site of the strike by the French anti-jihadist force “Barkhane” in Ponte (center). Their report concluded the following March with the deaths of nineteen civilians gathered to celebrate a wedding, not just the jihadists, as Paris always insists.

The Malian army, like others in the Sahel, is regularly accused of abuses. It ensures investigation when necessary. But human rights defenders constantly denounce the fact that such acts go unpunished. In a statement, UN expert Alion Tain urged the financial authorities to do so “Grant unimpeded access to the Human Rights Department so that it can conduct a thorough investigation”.

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“Given the serious allegations of mass crimes, and the killing of dozens of civilians during these operations, I call on the Malian authorities to conduct a thorough, independent, impartial and effective investigation as soon as possible.”Mr. Tyne said. He added that the results of these investigations must be announced.

The events in Mora are set against the backdrop of a reconfiguration that has been underway since the junta turned away from France and its European allies, turning to Russia to reclaim land left to jihadists since 2012.

Le Monde and Agence France-Presse

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