Sahel security forces accused of war crimes
Soldiers rampaging through villages in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have unlawfully killed or forcibly disappeared at least 199 people between February and April 2020, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published June 10. Some of the killings amount to extrajudicial executions and among the victims are internally displaced persons. The briefing, "'They Executed Some and Brought the Rest with Them': Civilian Lives at risk in the Sahel," calls on the governments of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger to put an end to the impunity by their security forces, and to ensure that military operations are in conformity with human rights and international humanitarian law. In Mali and Burkina Faso, where the situation amounts to a "non-international armed conflict," the deliberate killings of unarmed civilians by security forces could meet the qualification of war crimes.
"Insecurity is rife in the Sahel where the general population is trapped between attacks by armed groups and ongoing military operations. While arbitrary arrests by security forces sweep up dozens of people at a time, some aren’t seen again, and the true scale of the violations committed by the armies is unknown," said Samira Daoud, Amnesty International West and Central Africa director. (ReliefWeb)
French troops and advisors are embedded with and overseeing the Sahelian forces. French forces announced June 4 that they had killed the leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Algerian national Abdelmalek Droukdel, in a raid in northern Mali. France also announced the capture the following day of Mohamed el Mrabat, a prominent leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS). (AFP)
On June 5, thousands of people took to the streets of Mali's capital demanding the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Urged by opposition parties, demonstrators gathered in a central square in Bamako to condemn what they call the president's mishandling of the multiple crises facing the country. (Al Jazeera)