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Mali opens probe into alleged Moura killings

Mali opens probe into alleged Moura killings
Malian soldiers on patrol near the Djenné River on February 2020.   -  
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In a statement published late Wednesday, the Malian military prosecutor announced an investigation had been opened to shed light on the Moura operation. The intervention allegedly cost the lives of hundreds of civilians in addition to the more than 200 Islamists the military has so far acknowledged killing.

Nearly a week after the end of a military operation in Moura, grey areas remain as to what really happened. In order to clear the matter, the Mopti prosecutor announced on Wednesday evening the incidents would be probed. "In the wake of allegations according to which atrocities were committed on civilians between the 23 and the 31 of March [...] investigations have been opened by the National police force on the instructions of the Ministry of Defense and Veterans", the statement read.

The Mopti prosecutor, a city not far from the town of Moura, added that a "forensic scientist, together with a team of officers of the forensic police department and investigators" would soon be dispatched to Moura.

Call for international inquiry

In its report released on April, 5, NGO Human Rights Watch accused Malian armed forces known as FAMA and suspected Russian fighters of killing more than "300 civilians" in Moura. The organisation says its report was based on interviews conducted with 27 locals as well as foreign diplomats, and security analysts.

Before that, the Malian army issued a declaration saying the report was aimed at "tarnishing the reputation" of its army forces.

European Union High Representative Josep Borrell, France and the U.S Department of State have urged Mali's transitional authorities to allow an international inquiry conducted by the U.N Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). On Wednesday, UN expert Alioune Tine, who presented a report a few days ago before the UN rights Council, called for an independent probe.

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