Malian families accuse army of killing 7 civilians

2018-02-28 19:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bamako - Families on Wednesday accused Mali's military of killing seven civilians during an operation in the centre of the country a week earlier, as the government opened an enquiry into the deaths.

In a separate incident in the same region, six Malian soldiers were killed on Tuesday when their vehicle struck a mine, the army said on Wednesday, and a forest ranger was gunned down in a third incident.

Malian soldiers and international forces are battling jihadists and criminal gangs in the north and centre, where an Islamist insurgency has taken root and the state is largely absent.

Nouhoun Sarr, the nephew of one of seven men killed on February 21 after their arrest by the military, said the authorities informed him on Wednesday morning of his uncle's fate.

"They called us to tell us our relatives were killed during the operation, without elaborating," he told AFP.

A UN report published this month found that "at least 20%" of recorded incidents in 2016 and in the first of half of 2017 that endangered civilian lives involved the Malian authorities - essentially the security forces.

"According to our information, the seven civilians arrested on February 21 by the Malian army in Sokolo were killed by soldiers," said Yehia Ag Mohamed Ali, a former minister and member of the opposition Sadi party.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news from around the continent by subscribing to our FREE newsletter, Hello Africa.

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook. 

The government said in a statement on Wednesday that the army was "carrying out reconnaissance missions and searches in the Sokolo area, during which civilians unfortunately lost their lives.

"An enquiry has been opened," it added.

The army suffers losses on a weekly basis at the hands of jiahdists, and on Tuesday a lieutenant was among the six killed, an army statement said.

The soldiers were travelling in the Segou region when they "triggered an improvised explosive device" at 1830 GMT on Tuesday, according to the statement.

A forest ranger was also gunned down on Tuesday in Douentza, central Mali, a military source told AFP, describing the assailant as a "terrorist" -- the word most frequently used for armed jihadists in Mali.

In Mali, forest rangers are paramilitaries and dress in military fatigues while carrying out their work.

Islamic extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the desert north of Mali 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 coalitions of armed groups. But the jihadists remain active, and large tracts of the country are lawless.

Read more on:    mali  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.