Malian troops and suspected Russian mercenaries killed over 300 people in a town in the country’s central area, according to new reports. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement released on Tuesday that individuals arrested in the central town of Moura had been “deliberately slaughtered.”
Moura is said to be under “quasi-control” by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, according to Human Rights Watch (Aqim). It reported a local as stating that while some of those killed “were truly jihadists,” “many others were slaughtered merely because they were forced to cut their pants and grow their beards by the same jihadists.” On Saturday, Mali’s military admitted to killing over 200 terrorists in a “large-scale” attack on the “terrorist fief” of Moura.
They also claimed to have detained about fifty militants, but numerous local and international humanitarian sources, both Malian and foreign, have condemned the executions, calling them “civililian executions.” The UN mission in the Sahel, MINUSMA, says that it hasn’t been given permission to start its fact-finding mission in Moura yet.