The French war in Mali is breeding chaos and revenge among the population. Hundreds of thousands have been driven into exile an internal displacement., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 201321:10:50
Soldiers abused rebels in Mali
FEBRUARY 22, 2013 - 11:12AM
BY ELENA RALLI
Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Malian government on Thursday to launch an investigation in order to punish soldiers accused of committing torture, summary executions and other atrocities in the fight against Islamist extremists in the country’s north.
According to a statement by HRW: Malian authorities should "urgently investigate and prosecute soldiers responsible for torture, summary executions, and enforced disappearances of suspected Islamist rebels and alleged collaborators. The Malian government needs to act now to put a stop to these abuses by their soldiers and appropriately punish those responsible. Mali's international partners should bolster accountability efforts and civilian protection in the north to help prevent further abuses."
More specific, HRW said that since mid-January, when the French-led offensive against armed Islamists in Mali's desert began, Malian troops had carried out abuses against members of the Tuareg, Arab and Fula communities.
In one case, two young Fulas accused of being fighters for the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), one of the Islamist groups that occupied north Mali for some 10 months were forced into an army vehicle and taken to the outskirts of the village. Local people said they heard several gunshots and the two men have disappeared ever since.
Another 43-year-old Tuareg man was severely beaten, burned on his abdomen and genitals with cigarettes, partially strangled and then forced to ingest through his nose a toxic substance.
As a result, HRM called on the Malian government to conduct thorough investigation and to prosecute in accordance with international fair trial standards members of the security forces that have participated in recent serious abuses. Finally, it urged to ensure that everyone taken into custody during military operations is treated humanely, is brought before a judicial authority and is able to contact their families.