Mali prisoner killings decried as 'summary executions'

2018-04-09 11:49
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Bamako - Fourteen suspected jihadists killed during an alleged escape attempt by Mali troops were "summarily executed," community leaders told AFP on Sunday.

"This was in no way an escape attempt. Our sources are certain. These people were victims of summary executions," Nouhoum Sarr of Tabital Pulaaku, the main association of Mali's Dogon community, told AFP.

"We have the names of these people," added Sarr, saying the group were detained on April 5 near the central town of Dioura.

On Friday, a Malian army statement said the 14 were killed during an escape bid on April 6 after they were taken in for questioning the previous day.

"It is not normal for soldiers tasked with protecting the population to kill civilians," said Sarr, who said Defence Minister Tiena Coulibaly had personally assured him that he would "shed light" on the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

Two relatives of some of those killed have also alleged that they were summarily executed.

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"My cousin Moussa Nay Diallo is among the people killed. They did not try to flee as they had done nothing wrong," said one local resident.

The Dogon community are routinely suspected of collusion with the armed group loyal to extremist cleric Amadou Koufa, who backs an Islamic state.

Amnesty International last week called on the authorities to look into extra-judicial killings after six bodies were discovered in a common grave.

Once a beacon of democracy and stability in Africa, Mali in recent years has been dogged by a coup, civil war and Islamist terrorism.

Extremists linked to al-Qaeda took control of Mali's desert north in early 2012, but were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.

In June 2015, Mali's government signed a peace agreement with some armed groups, but the jihadists remain active, and large tracts of the country remain lawless.

Read more on:    mali  |  west africa

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