In April of this year, Amnesty International reported allegations that six bodies had been found in a mass grave near the village of Dogo in the Mopti Region of central Mali. Villagers accused Malian security forces of perpetrating the killings following a mass arrest. This month, RFI (French) reported new accusations by villagers in Nantaka and Kobaka, Mopti, that another mass grave containing twenty-five bodies had been found. Again, security forces are accused of killing detainees, in this instance following a mass arrest on June 13; in this case, as in other instances, the accusation is that security forces conducted executions on an ethnic basis, targeting the Peul ethnic group (all twenty-five bodies are reportedly those of Peul villagers).
Central Mali is the site of a multi-faceted conflict involving state security forces, ethnic-based militias and hunters’ groups, jihadists, bandits, and others. Security force abuses are one driver among many in the conflict, especially as reports grow of collective punishment of the Peul – who furnish some recruits for jihadists, but who are now facing ethnic profiling by the state and by other ethnic groups.
Yesterday, the Malian Ministry of Defense and Former Combatants posted a statement (.pdf) acknowledging the involvement of FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) in “grave human rights violations” in Nantaka and Kobaka. The Ministry is directing the military to open a formal investigation.
Nantaka and Kobaka are located (.pdf) just north of Mopti city, on the Niger River.