The United Nations has accused Malian soldiers of launching retaliatory attacks which have apparently targeted specific ethnic groups in the West African country.
UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang said on Tuesday that findings of a UN mission to Mali on February indicated that the recent war in the north of the country was followed by “a serious escalation of retaliatory violence by government soldiers who appear to be targeting members of the Peuhl, Tuareg and Arab ethnic groups.”
Kang added that the targeted groups are supposed to be supportive of the local fighters in northern Mali.
She further said that “the propagation of inflammatory messages” has worsened the situation and stigmatized members of these communities “thousands of whom have reportedly fled out of fear of reprisal by the Malian army.”
Kang also urged the Malian authorities to provide protection for the communities that are in danger and to make sure that the African country’s soldiers act “in accordance with human rights law and international humanitarian law.”
She demanded that Bamako investigate the allegations of involvement of the Malian army “in acts of reprisals against civilians” and bring those responsible to justice.
Around 4,000 French troops have been deployed to Mali since France launched the war on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters who had taken control of northern Mali.
Also on February 1, Amnesty International condemned “serious human rights breaches” including the killing of children in the French war on Mali.
The rights organization said there was “evidence that at least five civilians, including three children, were killed in an airstrike” carried out by French forces against the local fighters.