GENEVA (20 April 2022) – We are extremely concerned that Malian authorities have still not granted UN human rights investigators access to the village of Moura, in the central region of Mopti, where Malian Armed Forces reportedly accompanied by foreign military personnel are alleged to have carried out summary executions and multiple other serious human rights violations during a military operation three weeks ago.
While the exact death toll is unclear, the Malian army has acknowledged that it killed 203 fighters from “armed terrorist groups” and arrested 51 people in a “large-scale” military operation in the area from 23 to 31 March. However, other unconfirmed sources suggest the number could be as high as 500. Preliminary information suggests that the majority of victims were civilians. In addition to the alleged summary executions, the defence forces also reportedly raped, looted, and arbitrarily arrested and detained numerous people during the military operation, among them many civilians.
We note that according to a statement issued on 6 April, the Malian transitional authorities have opened an investigation into the incidents in Moura at the Military Tribunal in Mopti. We call on the transitional authorities to ensure that this investigation is timely, thorough, independent, and impartial. We also stress the need for the transitional authorities to provide prompt, safe and unhindered access to the area by investigators from the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which first sought access to the area on 1 April 2022. An independent on-the-ground investigation is critical, and time is of the essence to ensure accountability and prompt, effective justice for victims.