An Amnesty International delegation concludes today a ten-day mission in Mali and presents its preliminary findings. The delegation visited the towns of Ségou, Sévaré and Niono.
They were also able to conduct research in the towns of Konna and Diabaly shortly after they had been retaken by the Malian and the French military forces.
This is the fourth mission carried out by Amnesty International since the beginning of the conflict in January 2012. The organization published last year three reports highlighting serious human rights violations and abuses committed by the Malian army as well as Tuareg and Islamist armed groups.
A clearer picture of the toll of the conflict is just beginning to emerge. But it remains very difficult to confirm the full circumstances of many alleged violations. Amnesty International has received credible reports that civilians have been extrajudicially executed by the Malian military since 10 January 2013. In addition, at least five civilians, including three young children, were killed in an air attack launched in the context of the joint French and Malian counter offensive aiming to take over the town of Konna.
Amnesty International has also collected testimonies about human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law by armed Islamist groups including unlawful killings and the use of child soldiers.
Information received by Amnesty International indicates that after Malian and French military forces took over the towns of Gao and Timbuktu, Tuareg and Arabs civilians accused of being close to the Islamist armed groups were targeted by segments of the population and some of their belongings were looted. Amnesty International received calls of help from people living in Gao who claimed being targeted because of their alleged links with Tuareg or Islamist armed groups while government forces were reportedly at times standing by. Amnesty International has not yet had the opportunity to investigate these allegations.