UN: Malian military and foreign forces killed 500 villager in 2022.


The United Nations Human Rights Office said Friday that during a five-day operation in Moura, central Mali, last year, Malian soldiers and unidentified “armed white men” likely killed at least 500 people and sexually raped or tortured others.

According to the report, on March 27, 2022, the Malian army and foreign personnel came in helicopters and shot at fleeing locals. Hundreds more people were slain and dumped in ditches in the days that followed.

After months of investigation, the United Nations reported on what rights groups describe as the worst atrocity in a 10-year conflict between Islamist militants and the army that has killed thousands and displaced millions.

The white men were unknown, according to Seif Magango, regional spokesman for the United Nations Human Rights Office. Since late 2021, Western governments have expressed alarm about the Wagner Group’s conduct in Mali, including reports that it was involved in the deaths of Moura civilians.

“These are extremely disturbing findings,” said Volker Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Russia and Mali, whose leaders gained power in a coup in 2021, have said that Russian forces there are trainers assisting local troops in the deployment of Russian hardware.

Last Monday, Russia’s UN envoy, Maria Molodtsova, told a human rights conference in Geneva that the Moura military operation “contributed to peace and tranquillity” and eliminated militants.

The UN research interviewed victims and witnesses in the West African country using forensic and satellite pictures. According to the United Nations, a fact-finding team found 238 victims.


Despite the international intervention, Islamist radicals have been murdering civilians in Moura since 2012.

Following a diplomatic battle with Mali’s junta, French troops left last year. They stopped business with Mali in February 2022.

Hundreds of people have been killed by Al Qaeda and Islamic State-affiliated organizations in Burkina Faso and Niger, threatening regional security.

When UN soldiers arrived on March 27, last year, Katiba Macina, an al-Qaeda-affiliated local militia, shot back, according to the UN.

Troops searched homes for rebels the following day. They executed those with long beards, ankle-length trousers, and troops with weapon marks.

“A group of men… were led away by soldiers and shot in the head, back, or chest, and their bodies were thrown into a ditch,” according to the United Nations. There were 58 raped women and girls. There have been reports of citizens being tortured.


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