A Tuareg insurrection in 2012 created a power vacuum in northern Mali, once a popular destination for adventurous tourists, and this led to a launch pad for attacks across the Sahara and the Sahel to the south.
Mali’s northern region has been beset by conflict between rival groups, the main groups, Co-ordination des Movements de l’Azawad and the Plateforme in recent weeks are threatening to disrupt a 2015 Peace Agreement.
Minusma says it’s also investigating reports of human rights abuse.
Human Rights Director, Guillaume Ngefa, said that the mission has investigated reports on 34 cases of human rights violations in the area of Anefis. These include the forced disappearances of minors.
“We concluded that there have been two individual graves found, in addition to two mass graves. The challenge that we have is to determine, you know, the way that those people have been executed or killed. We don’t know how many bodies are in those mass graves and individual graves. And then also who are to be responsible,” said Ngefa.
Ngefa also stressed that it’s important to make sure that after the mission leaves there is no retaliation against civilians.
“I am glad that for this exercise the armed groups have cooperated to let free the human rights investigation and investigators to do their work. But for us, which is important (is) to make sure that after we leave there is no retaliation against civilians.”
– By SABC TV News