Mali erupts in bewilderment and exasperation over purportedly ‘fabricated’ UN findings on military slaughter
In a baffling turn of events, Mali’s military junta has denounced a United Nations report that alleges the execution of at least 500 individuals during a 2022 anti-jihadist operation in the city of Moura. According to the UN report, the dreaded army, as well as foreign military forces, carried out the atrocities, which are the severest in the Sahel country since the insurgence of 2012. In an attempt to discredit the UN report, the junta has labelled it as “fictitious” and “biased,” indicating that it was based on unreal events. The government has also opened an inquiry into “espionage,” military conspiracy,” and other related issues. It is interesting to note that the UN used satellites to gather information for the report, without the government’s consent, as the authorities pointed out. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk, has described the findings as “extremely worrying” and has emphasized that war crimes and crimes against humanity could result from acts of torture, rape, and summary executions during armed conflicts, depending on the circumstances. There are concerns about MINUSMA, whose peacekeeping mandate expires in June and whose position has been weakened by the withdrawal of some contributing countries and its strained relationship with Mali’s ruling junta.