Mali’s ‘self-defence’ groups must face justice, after deadly intercommunal attacks

UNICEF/Maiga UNICEF field staff meet with the local population in Bankass, central Mali, which was attacked on 23 March, leaving over 150 people dead, 2000 displaced and numerous huts and granaries burnt.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Mali’s authorities have been urged by the UN to provide justice for the victims and survivors of attacks by so-called self-defence groups, responsible for horrific intercommunal violence in central Mali, after a weekend assault that claimed the lives of more than 150 people, including some 50 children.

Last Saturday’s attack in Ogossagou in the Mopti region is just the latest in a series of raids since March 2018 that has resulted in the deaths of some 600 women, children and men, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said on Tuesday.

“We are urging the Government to conduct prompt investigations with a view to justice and accountability, to break this circle of impunity,” said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.

“We have deployed a team … with crime scene investigators as well as human rights officers, and they will be conducting interviews in the affected villages to try to establish what happened.” According to OHCHR, women, men and children from the Fulani community were deliberately targeted.

“These traditional disputes have always been there,” Ms. Shamdasani explained, often fuelled by disputes over access to land and water. “But lately it has taken on a particularly deadly turn because entire Fulani communities – and we are talking about millions of people – are being painted as violent extremists simply because they are Muslim.”

Survivors’ testimonies indicated that victims were thrown down wells and homes and warehouses were burned, destroying the livelihoods of the whole community.

Traditional hunters carried out the raid in the village, they said, apparently using automatic weapons, hunting rifles and other weapons, according to OHCHR. Although the Government has dissolved the Dan Nan Ambassagou militia, which is suspected of committing some of the atrocities, Ms. Shamdasani urged “prompt investigations” of alleged crimes committed by all groups.

Another attack was reported in the village of Welingara, three kilometres west of Ogossagou, that led to the death of one person. The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, also condemned the latest violence, noting that the injuries sustained by children were mostly gunshot-related, burns and fractures.

Huge displacement

Spokesperson Christophe Boulierac also warned that many thousands of people have fled the increasing violence, with 56,400 internally displaced people in Mopti region at the end of 2018, compared with 2,000 in 2017.

“The first assessments speak for themselves: one-third of people killed are children, half of the injured people are children,” Mr. Boulierac said, in reference to Saturday’s attack. “The schools are increasingly threatened, so the threat against children is clear, and children are paying the highest price of this crisis in Mali.”

To assist the Malia, authorities, a team of 10 human rights officers, a child protection officer and two crime scene investigators from the United Nations Police (UNPOL) of the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have been deployed to Mopti to conduct a special investigation into Saturday’s attacks.

Some investigations have been conducted by the authorities, “but they largely fail to result in trials”, Ms. Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.

Defence groups ‘taking law into their own hands’ on violent extremism

Mali “is struggling with fighting violent extremism”, Ms. Shamdasani said, noting that many communities were using this as a “pretext for intercommunal violence, or they are painting themselves as so-called self-defence groups and they are taking the law into their own hands and getting rid of what they perceive to be the threat of violent extremism”.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

From Israel’s ‘start-up nation’, 4 lessons in innovation

Syria: Why did the US now take the Russian offer for a truce? What next?

Sudzha gas metering station at Russian-Ukrainian border (Copyright: Gazprom, 2015 / Gazprom’s website, Media)

Gazprom starts suspending gas contracts with Ukraine as Brussels fears limited transit to Europe

EU summit: No energy against tax evasion and fraud

EU and China resolve amicably solar panel trade dispute

Schools in Florida now have to teach mental and emotional health

How each country’s share of global CO2 emissions changes over time

The AI doctor won’t see you now

Bangladesh: Head of UN refugee agency calls on Asia-Pacific leaders to show ‘solidarity’ with Rohingya refugees

Main results of G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina

A Sting Exclusive: “Digital and mobile technologies are helping to achieve an economic success in Spain”, the Spanish Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society Víctor Calvo-Sotelo reveals to the Sting at Mobile World Congress 2015

ECB with an iron hand disciplines the smaller Eurozone member states; latest victim: Greece

This is how companies are working together to create a world without waste

European Commission adopts rules to ensure a smooth transition to its next President and the next College of Commissioners

Eurozone: Retail sales betray economic frailty

Systems leadership can change the world – but what exactly is it?

Statement on the Code of Practice against disinformation: Commission asks online platforms to provide more details on progress made

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

Help prevent children ‘from becoming victims in the first place’, implores Guterres at campaign launch

Commission to decide on bank resolution issues

Business should be joyful – just ask the sports world

Colombia offers nationality rights to Venezuelan children born there: UN hails ‘very important step’

Is the European Banking Union an impossible task?

Crimea, a wicked game of political chess and a ‘big’ coincidence

Tackling the toxic norms that hold women back in Asia

Nearly 900 reportedly killed following ‘shocking’ intercommunal attacks in DR Congo

France pushes UK to stay and Germany to pay

Have Europe’s Ukrainian wounds begun to heal?

Mother of all mergers between Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram: EU Data Privacy restrictions against Facebook’s imperialistic plans

COP21 Paris: The Final Agreement Adopted-full text

What Ghana can teach us about integrating refugees

Eurozone: The cycle of deficits, debts and austerity revisited

Flexible jobs can make work-life balance worse, a German study finds

Two shipwrecks add to ‘alarming increase’ in migrant deaths off Libya coast: IOM

Restrictions, unmet promises, unbridled violence in Sudan, a ‘recipe for disaster’, says Bachelet

Berlin’s governing elite leads Eurozone to recession to win the September election in Germany

South Africa’s SMEs should be first in line for a digital upgrade

Blockchain will make sure green pledges aren’t just greenwash: a new initiative by young leaders at the World Economic Forum

5 ways students can graduate fully qualified for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What little Cameron got in Brussels seems enough to keep Britain in the EU

Here’s how to find a job you really love

Medschool 4.0: how to succeed in the smart revolution of healthcare

This woman solved one of the biggest problems facing green energy

Neelie Kroes at the European Young Innovators Forum: Unconvention 2014

Erasmus+ 2021-2027: more people to experience learning exchanges in Europe

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

US resolution to condemn activities of Hamas voted down in General Assembly

These are the world’s most fragile states in 2019

EU Border and Coast Guard: new corps of 10 000 border and coast guards by 2027

This is what the world’s CEOs really think of AI

China’s impact as a global investor; the Sting reports live from World Economic Forum 2015 in Davos

These are the top 10 emerging technologies of 2019

Varna (Bulgaria) awarded European Youth Capital 2017

Finland has giant supermarkets that only stock second-hand goods

Draghi: A bridge from Brussels to Berlin

Largest joint UN humanitarian convoy of the war, reaches remote Syrian settlement

Is Britain to sail alone in the high seas of trade wars?

The European Parliament wants to stay in one place

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

The untold story of who caused and who pays for the economic crisis

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s