Aziz*’s voice shakes on the other end of the line. “This morning, the villagers were still burying bodies. They can’t count them anymore because there are so many.”, is moved by this human rights defender from the center of Mali. Between Sunday March 27 and Thursday March 31, Moura, a village in the Mopti region, was the target of an anti-terrorist operation carried out by the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa) and white paramilitaries identified by local and international sources as belonging to the Russian private security company Groupe Wagner. Five days of lockdown, the progress of which could be controlled by The world from various humanitarian and security sources, Mali, West and West Africa.
In the crowd, armed men circulate in plain sight
Sunday March 27 is the day of the fair in Moura. The town is recognized for the quality of its cattle market. On this last weekend before the start of Ramadan, the inhabitants of the surrounding villages flock to buy sheep. In the crowd, armed men circulate in sight. Moura is located in a wooded and flooded area that is difficult to access and has been controlled for years by jihadists from Katiba Macina, a group led by Fulani leader Amadou Koufa and a member of the Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM, affiliated with Al Qaeda). .
The Malian army, which continues to see this enemy progress since the outbreak of war in the north of the country in 2012, has decided to go on the offensive in Moura. The intervention, which mobilizes several dozen soldiers from the army, aviation and special forces, is part of the “Kélétigui” operation (“the one who wages war” in Bambara), which began at the end of 2021 in the center and south from Mali by the FAMa accompanied by their Russian auxiliaries.
“They did not distinguish between the jihadists or the others”
“Helicopters flew over the market shooting at those who tried to flee. Meanwhile, the jihadis discarded their weapons and mingled with the crowd. Malian and Russian soldiers landed on the ground and that was the beginning of the massacre, supports an African human rights defender. They rounded up the men, executed many of them, searched the houses to kill those who were hiding there. They did not distinguish between jihadists or others. »
In the market, between the houses and near a river, many bodies were found, some charred, others riddled with bullets. The mass graves would have been excavated by the inhabitants themselves, without anyone being able to determine the number, identity or condition -civilian or combatant- of the victims of these extrajudicial executions.
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