Mali to open investigation in alleged massacre
Mali's military prosecutor says an investigation will be opened in a probe on an alleged massacre perpetrated in the village of Moura.
Mali said on Wednesday that military investigators have opened an investigation into events that took place in the village of Moura, which is said to be the site of a massacre that killed 203.
"Following the allegations of alleged abuses committed against civilians... investigations have been opened by the national gendarmes on the instructions of the defense ministry and veterans to carry out thorough investigations to shed light on these allegations," the military prosecutor said in a statement.
Mali's army had revealed on April 1 that it killed 203 militants in Moura, in the center of Mali, during an operation that took place in late March.
However, the announcement also followed reports spread on social media of a civilian massacre in the area. Human Rights Watch said Malian forces and foreign fighters killed 300 civilians in Moura in what it described as "the worst single atrocity reported in Mali's decade-long armed conflict."
Some news outlets, such as AFP, are describing the white foreign soldiers mentioned in the HRW report as Russian solely because they are "non-French-speaking." However, there are mercenaries from over 30 different nationalities operating on Malian soil.
On Wednesday, Alioune Tine, a UN human rights expert, urged for an independent and impartial investigation into the events, calling on Malian authorities to allow MINUSMA (the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) to perform the investigation.
The United States and France have both said that the instructors are operatives from the Russian private security firm Wagner. Other private security firms also operate in Mali, such as the US' Triple Canopy and Academi (formerly Blackwater), as well as Britain's Vellichor, Erinys International and G4S.