In Mali, Wagner’s soldiers “terrorize”, “execute” and “violate”

The Wagner Group is not only active in Ukraine. Deployed in Mali, the Russian mercenaries have “participated in military operations, terrorized villagers, executed civilians, stolen property, including livestock and jewelry, and raped women and girls”. This is what emerges from a statement published at the end of a 10-day visit by Alioune Tine, UN expert on the human rights situation in Mali. In short, he accuses Wagner of “terrorizing” the local population.

For their part, the Malian authorities only recognize the presence of “military instructors” deployed to train the Malian security forces in the use of military equipment acquired from Russia, recalled Alioune Tine, who is mandated by the Council human rights but does not speak on behalf of the UN.

“However, I would like to emphasize, as I have done in previous reports, that I have received information from credible sources that Russian military and security personnel are indeed involved in combat operations and would commit serious human rights violations and abuses,” the expert said.

The director of human rights of the United Nations in Mali expelled

According to him, the Malian authorities he met during this visit are committed to investigating the allegations of violations involving Russian military and security personnel. Beyond Wagner’s question, the UN expert urged Mali, which has been led by putschist soldiers since August 2020, to open up civic and democratic space and to redouble its efforts to fight against impunity for human rights violations, in view of the promised transition towards a restoration of elected civilian power.

“My mission took place in a tense context, marked by the continuous shrinking of civic space, attacks against human rights defenders and civil society by state and non-state actors”, he lamented. . “For the first time, upon our arrival at Bamako airport, my assistant and I were stopped and interrogated by police officers,” he said. .

His arrival in Mali on February 5 also coincided with the authorities’ decision to expel the director of the human rights division of the United Nations Mission in Mali (Minusma), Guillaume Ngefa.

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