We are following the extremely disturbing accounts of large numbers of people killed earlier this week in the village of Mourah in the Mopti region of central Mali. We offer our condolences to the families of all civilians who died.
We are concerned that many reports suggest that the perpetrators were unaccountable forces from the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group. Other reports claim the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) had targeted elements of known violent extremist groups. These conflicting reports illustrate the urgent need for the Malian transition authorities to give impartial investigators free, unfettered, and safe access to the area where these tragic events unfolded.
Immediate access to eyewitnesses and to the many individuals who are said to be in government custody is essential set the record straight. We call on Mali’s transition government to grant access to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to conduct a rigorous investigation as mandated by the UN Security Council. Failure to provide a thorough and credible accounting of the facts and accountability will only serve to sow divisions in Malian society, undermine the credibility, legitimacy, and reputation of the FAMa, drive communities into the hands of violent extremist groups, and create conditions for more violence.