Mali: one year after the Moura massacre, the conclusions of the investigations still awaited

A Malian soldier between Mopti and Djenne in February 2020 (Illustration image) © MICHELE CATTANI/AFP

Text by: David Baché

3 min

It has been one year, this Monday, March 27, 2023 since the massacre of Moura took place. This village, in the Mopti region of central Mali, was the scene of an anti-terrorist operation by the Malian army and its Russian auxiliaries. The operation lasted five days and during which several hundred people were killed. Survivors also reported torture and rape. But twelve months later, the conclusions of the investigations promised by the Malian military justice system, as well as by the United Nations Mission in the country, have still not been published.


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The prosecutor of the military court of the Mopti region had promised, in a statement dated April 6, 2022, that the results of the "in-depth investigations" conducted by the Malian gendarmerie would be made public, to "shed light" on the "allegations of abuses" made against the Malian army and its Russian auxiliaries.

Even before the opening of this procedure, the General Staff of the Malian Armed Forces had deemed "unfounded" accusations intended to "tarnish the image of the Fama" (Malian Armed Forces), praised for their "professionalism".

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) also conducted its own investigation. Despite multiple requests, its human rights specialists were never allowed by the Malian transitional authorities to visit the site. But they were able to collect many testimonies and cross-check.

However, the expected report has still not been published either. And this despite the fact that the United Nations Human Rights Council itself demanded, last January, an independent investigation into the "possible crimes" of the Malian army and the "Wagner group", particularly during the military operation in Moura.

An operation that was carried out on a market day, which lasted five days and during which the Malian army claims to have "neutralized" 203 people, all jihadists.

► Read also: Mali: what really happened in Moura?

The testimonies of survivors, collected and published since by numerous media and human rights organizations, report 200 to more than 500 deaths, including children, the vast majority of them civilians. Torture – people forced to lie for hours in the sun, carrying the bodies of the dead in graves – and dozens of rapes have also been reported. Witnesses say that it was the Russian auxiliaries of the Malian army who directed the operations.

In a video released last June, Hamadoun Kouffa, the head of the Katiba Macina of Jnim – an al-Qaeda-linked Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims – claimed that only thirty of its fighters were present in Moura during the army operation and had named the Malian soldiers and their Russian auxiliaries. referred to as Wagner, for killing hundreds of civilians.

The village of Moura is a usual supply point for the jihadists of Katiba Macina, who have been imposing their rules on the inhabitants for several years.

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