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UN report points to possible Russian mercenaries responsible for March massacre

News 360 logo News 360 06/08/2022 Daniel Stewart
Secretary-General António Guterres reviews the honor guard composed of peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. - UN PHOTO/MARCO DORMINO © Provided by News 360 Secretary-General António Guterres reviews the honor guard composed of peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. - UN PHOTO/MARCO DORMINO

A confidential UN report points to possible Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group as responsible for a massacre in central Mali in March that killed more than 30 civilians.

The report, prepared by UN experts and presented to the Security Council, includes eyewitness accounts of the arrival of "white-skinned soldiers" in the Malian town of Robinet El Ataye, in the Ségou region. At least 33 civilians were killed there on March 5, including 29 Mauritanians and 4 Malians.

These "soldiers" proceeded "to round up the men and older children, tied their hands behind their backs and blindfolded them", according to a witness, adding that they were subsequently arrested in the center of the village and the surrounding houses were ransacked.

Apparently and according to the document, the soldiers began to beat the men, who were blindfolded and already immobilized, with truncheons and clubs, while other assailants "blocked the entrances to nearby houses and told the women and children to stay inside".

"They could only hear the screams of the men as they beat them," according to witness.

They then took as many as 34 men, including 29 Mauritanians and four Malians, whose charred remains were discovered nearby the next day, according to testimonies collected.

The Russian mercenary group Wagner, which provides troops to Mali's military junta, is not mentioned in the report but DPA agency sources indicate that experts have no doubt that the mercenaries described were provided by the Kremlin-linked organization.

Among the evidence there is evidence that these military personnel used a type of rope that matches the one used by the Russian Army.

Since the coup d'état in May 2021, Mali has been under the rule of a military junta with close ties to Russia and its Wagner mercenary group.

According to the UN report, the volatile security situation in Mali has created a security vacuum that has led to a sharp increase in civilian deaths, with more than 500 killed in the first three months of this year alone.

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