The government of Mali should urgently conduct credible investigations into abuses against suspects its army detained during a major military operation against armed Islamist groups, Human Rights Watch said. The army high command should suspend officers implicated in abuse pending investigations and ensure that all detainees are treated humanely and are promptly turned over to government gendarmes.
The investigations should include the deaths in detention of 27 men and the severe torture of two others in February, March, and April 2018 during Operation Dambe, a major offensive that ramped up in early 2018 in the Mopti region of Central Mali. The army has said that it is investigating two of the reported cases. In light of the failure of the military to hold accountable soldiers implicated in past abuses, an independent Justice Ministry investigation for the current spate of abuses is crucial, Human Rights Watch said.
“Multiple accounts of mass arrests followed by the discovery of common graves point to the army running amok in central Mali,” said Corinne Dufka, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Prompt government action is needed to stop the abuses and bring those responsible to justice.”
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