A German press agency has the 78-page document, written by United Nations experts and handed over to the UN Security Council. In it, the perpetrators were described as “white soldiers”. Wagner, a Russian mercenary group in the service of the Malian military junta, has not been named directly, but according to DPA information, there is little doubt that experts believe the soldiers described by witnesses are members of Wagner. Not least because the type of rope used in the crime was known from Russian military stocks.
After the most recent coup in May 2021, Mali, a highly volatile West African country, is governed by a military junta with close ties to Russia and employing fighters from the Wagner mercenary group. In UN circles, Wagner is considered close to the Kremlin, and his commitment to Mali is undeniable. Rising tensions with the government and growing extremist groups, the UN are increasingly hampering the deployment of the peacekeeping mission MINUSMA in the country. The Bundeswehr currently has more than 1000 soldiers involved in Minusma.
The incident, now presented in a UN report, took place in early March in central Mali, on the border with Mauritania. During these two days, six locations in the region were attacked by Malian forces. On the morning of March 5, “white soldiers” appeared near the well-frequented fountain: “The soldiers surrounded men and old boys, tied their hands behind their backs, and blindfolded them.”
They were then surrounded in the center of the village and the surrounding houses ransacked, according to witness reports. The soldiers then began to beat the bound men with heavy sticks, while others barred the doors of the houses for the women and children inside. “All I could hear was the screams of the men as they were beaten.” 33 or 34 of them were abducted, including 29 Mauritanians and four Malians. They were found shot and burned four kilometers away a day later.
Similar robberies took place in other affected cities in the region. In two of them, the “white soldiers” were the first to land with a helicopter. However, the witnesses could not identify any of the accused.
According to a UN report, the insecure situation in Mali, with a recent increase in attacks in the capital Bamako, has created a security vacuum that has made serious human rights violations possible. There is an alarming increase in civilian casualties. 543 visitors were killed from January 1 to March 31 alone. (SDA)
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