Mali- Twenty-five bodies were found in central Mali after the army carried out a sweep in the unstable region, sources said on Monday, adding to concern about abuse by security forces in their fight against jihadists.
Kisal an NGO in the region, campaigns for the human rights of pastoral communities, it said in a statement that “25 bodies” had been found in three mass graves.
They provided a list of 18 names of people who they said, had been killed.
But the government’s ministry spokesman has denied there had been any abuse done by the military.
He said, “The zone is dangerous,” explaining “terrorists and unidentified armed men” had been in the area.
A local resident of Nantaka Hama Kelly said when the troops arrived they arrested every person they came across in the village.
Kelly said, “They took their mobile phones and identity cards. Afterwards, people who were (members of the) Songhai (ethnic group) were released but all the Fulani were kept behind.”
AFP agency tried to get hold of the governor of the Mopti region, General Sidi Alassane Toure for comment but declined to do so.
But he said, “An army unit is in the area, I am awaiting its return to find out the situation.”
In the past three years tensions and violence have intensified in the Mopti area, clashes are frequently seen between Fulani herdsmen and sedentary farmers from other ethnic groups and they accuse the pastoralists of working with jihadists.
Photo credit- AFP