Mali sets up panel to investigate killing of 43 civilians in 2 villages

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The Malian government has launched an investigation into the killing of 43 civilians during “military” attacks on two villages.

While disclosing this in a statement on Monday June 8, 2020, a government officials reported that last Friday, Armed men dressed in military fatigues raided the village of Binedama killing 29 people including women and children, and burning down houses.

They added that two days earlier, attackers had killed 14 people in the village of Niangassadiou.

In both cases, community leaders said attackers targeted members of the Fulani group – semi-nomadic herders who have been accused by rival farming communities of supporting local armed groups, making them targets of violence from ethnic vigilante militias and sometimes government forces.

While reacting to the incident, Fulani association Tabital Pulaaku, said all the victims were innocent civilians.

The association accused Malian soldiers of carrying out both attacks, saying the troops surrounded Binedama in pick-up trucks before moving in, and attacked a trade fair at Niangassadiou.

The government acknowledged the accusation and said it had asked the military and the justice system to conduct the investigation.

“If it turned out that these killings were the work of national army members, sanctions matching the seriousness of these actions would be taken by the head of the military,” it said in its statement issued late on Sunday.

Though the government acknowledged some abuses by its forces in the past, it rejected many allegations made by rights groups.

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