The Malian army and “white” soldiers are involved in the death of 33 civilians, including 29 Mauritanians and 4 Malians, last March in Robinet El Ataye, a village located in the region of Ségou, near the Mauritanian border. , according to a report by a group of experts commissioned by the United Nations.
The report released on Friday said, “The soldiers rounded up the men, including the teenagers, tied their hands behind their backs and blindfolded them. They were then gathered in the middle of the village” while “the women and children were ordered to go home and not watch”.
The group of experts further specified that “it was not able to go to the site, but that it collected several testimonies indicating that the deployed soldiers then stripped the houses of all their possessions, including the bedding, cell phones, jewelry, kitchen utensils and clothing.
“A group of FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) arrived in the village around 11 am” continues the text. “They started beating the bound blindfolded men using the sticks used by the shepherds on their flocks. The women locked in the houses could only hear the cries of the men who were beaten”, declared the same UN source.
The report adds that “The FAMa then freed some of the younger men, and took away 33 men, 29 Mauritanians and 4 Malians [touaregs] ».
The UN experts relate in their report that “After the soldiers left at 2 p.m., the women waited for the men to return to the village. The next day, relatives discovered the bodies 4 kilometers from Robinet El Ataye. They had been shot and then burned” evoking a “similar pattern of looting and beatings” in five other localities in the area between March 5 and 6, without causing any casualties.
The report said witnesses saw a “helicopter carrying the white-skinned soldiers.”
The group of experts noted that eleven bodies found in Robinet El Ataye would have been returned to their families by the Mauritanian authorities, who had access to the village.
Mauritania had accused the Malian army of “recurring criminal acts” against Mauritanian citizens in this border region. Bamako had refuted these accusations, claiming that nothing implicated its army.
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