Washington, DC – The State Department said it was following extremely disturbing accounts of large numbers of people killed earlier this week in the village of Mourah in the Mopti region of central Mali, and offered condolences to the families of the civilians who died.
In a statement issued Sunday (April 3) State Department spokesperson Ned Price expressed concern about reports suggesting 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.”
The State Department called on Mali’s transition government to grant access to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to conduct a thorough 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,” said Price.
Mali has struggled to restore stability since an armed insurgency broke out in 2012. Since then, it has seen a failed military coup, continued fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels, and the capture of its northern territory by radical extremists. Last year, the number of Internally Displaced Persons in Mali increased from 216,000 to more than 400,000.