Torture and murder reported in Mali

Since the French military intervention, allegations of military abuses have risen as media sources, NGOs, and witnesses report atrocities committed against minorities.

Torture and murder reported in Mali

World Bulletin/News Desk

Allegations of military abuses have risen in Mali since the beginning of the January 11 French military intervention to the unstable country, according to such media and non-governmental organizations as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Federation for Human Rights, and Arab and Tuareg community representatives in Mali.

Mali’s military forces are accused of abuses including torture, summary executions and enforced disappearances as NGOs also report “sexual violence against women.”

According to doctors, Malian and French troops and journalists, the army frequently uses torture and murder in northern Mali against minorities suspected of backing the rebels. Tuaregs and Arabs are sometimes referred to as “pale skins” amidst a majority black population.

An AFP journalist observed four “pale skins” in Gao and Timbuktu, among the three main towns in the north, with marks of torture including traces of electric shock treatment, cigarette burns, the use of acid, broken bones, bruises, bullet wounds and signs of strangulation, in addition to sexual abuse.

According to a victim who requested anonymity, soldiers poured acid down his nostrils after beating him and burning him with cigarettes.

His doctor told AFP “I know that he is not an Islamist” and that “the acid will lead to a shrinking of the esophagus, perhaps cancer.”

A young pale-skinned woman confined to her sickbed with broken bones and several bullets in her body said soldiers had assaulted her, and her doctor informed that she had also been a victim of rape.

AP journalists in Timbuktu reported to have discovered two Arabs buried in shallow sand graves near town. One victim’s family said Malian soldiers had arrested him two weeks earlier.

The head of paramilitary police in Gao, Colonel Saliou Maiga, has stated that “soldiers, if they are not controlled by their officers, can do what they like.”

Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly on Tuesday said that his government takes the allegations seriously and will not tolerate such "atrocities." When questioned about whether Malian military forces are capable of conducting full, transparent and fair investigations, he recognized "It's hard."

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot also told a news conference on Tuesday that the French government has not yet encountered any legal proof of torture and reprisals, however "no one can reasonably say that no abuses have taken place."

Lieutenant-Colonel Emmanuel Dosseur, spokesman for the French military operation in Bamako, declined to comment.

Last Mod: 22 Şubat 2013, 15:15
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