UN says Mali preventing access to killings site

Africa

The UN has expressed concern that Malian authorities have denied its human rights investigators access to a village where hundreds of people were killed.

“We are extremely concerned that Malian authorities have still not granted UN human rights investigators access”, said a statement by the UN Human Rights Office.

It said “time is of essence to ensure accountability and prompt, effective justice for victims”, noting that it first sought access to the site of the killings on April 1.

Malian troops and their Russian collaborators are accused of carrying out a massacre of civilians during an operation against militants last month.

At least 300 people are believed to have been executed during the 27-31 March raid in the village of Moura, which is in Mali’s central Mopti region. The killings sparked calls by the UN for an independent investigation into the matter.

The Malian army insists that those killed were jihadist fighters and the allegation of a massacre is an attempt to tarnish its image.

A Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said this had been a successful operation by Mali’s army alone. The Mali junta denies that mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner group are helping it fight the insurgents.

The country has been battling a decade-long insurgency that has affected millions of people, and has also engulfed other countries in the region.

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