Soldiers acting on behalf of the Mali government allegedly killed more than 30 people in the crisis-ridden country, according to a UN report based on eyewitness accounts civilians. A 78-page report by UN experts has been presented to the Security Council of this organization, according to Friday, July 5, the dpa news agency, which received access to the document. In the report, the perpetrators are described by witnesses as “white-skinned soldiers.”

Russian private military company (PMC) Wagner, in the service of Malian military junta, is not directly mentioned in the UN report, however, according to dpa, experts have no doubt that the soldiers described by witnesses are fighters of this military formation. In particular, this is evidenced by the fact that ropes from the stocks of the Russian army were used during the crime.

Horrifyingly brutal murder

The UN report describes an incident that took place in early March in central Mali on the border with Mauritania, when Malian forces attacked six settlements in the region in two days. On the morning of March 5, a “group of white-skinned soldiers” arrived in a village whose well was often used by Malian and Mauritanian pastoralists. “The soldiers rounded up adult men, including older boys, tied their hands behind their backs and blindfolded them,” the UN report said, citing eyewitness accounts.

According to the report, the soldiers raided the houses in the village and ransacked them. They then proceeded to beat the bound men with heavy sticks, while other soldiers blocked the doors of the houses where the women and children were, who “could only hear the screams of the men as they were being beaten”. According to eyewitnesses, 33 or 34 men, including 29 Mauritanians and four Malians, were taken away. A day later, their bodies were found four kilometers from the village. According to the report, they were shot and then burned.

Similar incidents took place in other settlements of the region. In two of them, “white-skinned soldiers” arrived by helicopter. However, witnesses were unable to identify any of the perpetrators.

Security vacuum in Mali

According to a UN report, due to unstable situation in Mali, where incidents have recently increased even in the capital Bamako, a security vacuum has been created in the country, allowing serious human rights violations to occur. There has been an alarming rise in the number of civilian deaths. Only in the period from January 1 to March 31, 543 civilians were killed in Mali.

Since the military coup in Mali in May 2021, the highly unstable West African country has been ruled by a military junta with close ties to Russia and seeking the services of mercenaries from PMC Wagner. In UN circles, this formation is considered close to the Kremlin.

Growing tensions between Mali and its international partners and the activation of extremist groups in the country are increasingly preventing the deployment of the UN peacekeeping multidimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Currently German Bundeswehr employs more than 1,000 of its soldiers.

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