Mali: Shot on the run? A call for independent investigations into the mysterious deaths of 14 prisoners

EU Training Mission should focus on the aspect of human rights (Press Release)

People of the Peulh who live in the Macina region are discriminated and threatened arbitrarily for years. Foto: Hugues via Flickr

Following the violent death of 14 prisoners in a military camp in Mali, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands independent international investigations into the incident. On Monday, Ulrich Delius, director of the Göttingen-based human rights organization, demanded the UN High Commission for Human Rights to clarify whether the 14 victims (who belonged to the Peulh people) were shot on the run or whether they were executed by soldiers. “If the incident turns out to be an execution, this must also have consequences for the EU training mission in Mali – EUTM. In that case, priority must be given to the aspect of human rights in the training of Mali’s army.” The Bundeswehr is an integral part if the EUTM mission, which has now been going on for five years. 

Last Thursday, the 14 Peulhs were arrested on suspicion of supporting armed Islamist militias. Then, they were transferred to a military camp in the town of Dioura in the center of Mali. According to the Malian army, they were shot the following day when they tried to escape. However, Peulh organizations and relatives of the victims doubt the official version, claiming that they were innocent and had arrested arbitrarily.

This is not the first time that Mail’s army is said to have committed massacres against the Peulh civilian population. On March 25, 2018, for example, the bodies of six civilians were found in a mass grave near the village of Dogo in the Mopti region. Eyewitnesses reported that they had been killed by Malian soldiers three days before.

“The army’s excessive force against the civilian population is one of the reasons for the increasing discontent and unrest among the Peulhs,” Delius warned. The Peulhs are accuse the security forces of criminalizing them as supporters of the Salafist insurgents of the “Front de Liberation du Macina”. The rebel movement, which was founded in 2015, criticizes that the Peulhs, who mainly live in the Macina region, are neglected in terms of economic affairs and development. Mali is home to around 2.7 million Peulhs. Many are nomads or semi-nomads.

Header Foto: Hugues va Flickr