State Department demands Mali allow ‘impartial’ investigation after ‘large’ massacre

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April 3 (UPI) — The U.S. State Department has demanded that Mali allow an impartial investigation after reports of a large massacre in the country last week.

“We are following the extremely disturbing accounts of large numbers of people killed earlier this week in the village of Mourah in the Mopti region of central Mali. We offer our condolences to the families of all civilians who died,” spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Mali is a landlocked country in West Africa with a population of 20.3 million.

Price said that the State Department is concerned about reports suggesting the massacre was conducted “unaccountable forces from the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group.”

“Other reports claim the Malian Armed Forces had targeted elements of known violent extremist groups,” Price said.

“These conflicting reports illustrate the urgent need for the Malian transition authorities to give impartial investigators free, unfettered, and safe access to the area where these tragic events unfolded.”

Not allowing for a “credible accounting” of the massacre would undermine the legitimacy of the transition government, Price said.

Mali’s Armed Forces said in a statement Friday that it had killed 203 militants and arrested 51 others in an operation started March 23 amid an increase in violence in the country.

“This operation follows very precise information which allowed to locate the holding of a meeting between different Katibats in Mourah, stronghold of the terrorists for several years,” the statement reads, in reference to armed Muslim militants.

“Large quantities of weapons and ammunition were recovered. The FAMa then carried out systematic cleaning of the entire zoned.”

Radio France Internationale, a state-owned news broadcaster in France, reported that civilian and security sources indicated that the military had conducted “indiscriminate violence against the inhabitants.”

“According to these sources, the village was surrounded by Malian soldiers and their Russian auxiliaries, deployed in large numbers,” RFI reported. “Several sources even claim that the Russian troops deployed on the ground are greater than the Malian soldiers.”


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