African Press Association

Scores dead in bloody Mali week



BAMAKO – A suicide bomb at a United Nations operations base has killed at least 50 people while armed Islamist groups have executed numerous people in one of the bloodiest weeks in Mali.

On Thursday, United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres condemned the suicide-vehicle attack perpetrated against a military camp in the northern Mali city of Gao.

The UN Integrated Multi-Dimensional Stabilization Mission (MINUSMA) said the vehicle exploded inside the Operational Coordination Mechanism camp on Wednesday.

The camp houses Armed Forces of Mali and the Platform and Coordination of Azawad Movements, numbering 600.

They are leading joint patrols envisaged by the 2015 peace and reconciliation agreement.

MINUSMA reiterated support to the peace process and expressed hope those responsible were promptly identified and prosecuted.

UN peacekeeper fatalities reached 29 in 2016, double those in 2015.

Meanwhile, rights groups said Islamist groups in northern and central Mali have executed numerous people and are increasingly imposing restrictions in villages.

Government has largely been unable to protect vulnerable civilians while security forces summarily executed at least ten suspected Islamists and tortured others during counterterrorism operations in 2016.

Additionally, civilians have suffered from bloody intercommunal clashes and banditry.

Despite a 2015 peace accord ending the 2012-2013 conflict, signatories have failed to implement key provisions, notably the disarmament of thousands of combatants.

“The government’s failure to assert control and curtail security force abuses has added to the deteriorating situation,” said Corinne Dufka, associate Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

– CAJ News