19 May 2024, 09:20

Mali rebels accuse army, Wagner of killing civilians

DAKAR, May 19, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - An alliance of separatist rebel groups
fighting Malian government forces on Saturday accused the army and Russian
paramilitary group Wagner of killing 11 civilians earlier in the week.

The Malian authorities did not respond to a request for comment from AFP
about the allegations posed in a statement from the Permanent Strategic
Framework for the Defence of the People of Azawad (CSP-DPA), an alliance of
predominantly Tuareg armed rebel groups.

The CSP-DPA said that on Wednesday, the village of Tassik in the northern
Kidal region "was targeted by a patrol of mercenaries from the Russian Wagner
group and the Malian army, who committed serious violations against the

The separatist alliance put the death toll at 11 civilians, whose bodies were
discovered "burned", with two more civilians reported missing.

It added that the patrol had ransacked several stores and vehicles.

"The CSP-DPA unreservedly condemns these terrorist operations programmed with
the aim of carrying out a targeted ethnic cleansing and accelerated
depopulation of the Azawad territory of its indigenous people," the statement

Azawad is the name of the territory claimed by separatists in northern Mali.

Fighting between the separatists and Mali government troops broke out last
August after eight years of calm, as both sides scrambled to fill the vacuum
left by the withdrawal of United Nations peacekeepers (MINUSMA), ordered to
leave by the ruling junta in Bamako.

The offensive in northern Mali has been marked by numerous allegations of
abuses against civilians by Malian forces and, since 2022, their Russian
allies, which the Malian authorities systematically deny.

Since seizing power in 2020, Mali's junta has broken ties with France and
turned politically and militarily towards Russia.

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