UNITED NATIONS, April 23 (IPS) – About a year has passed since the anti-government demonstrations and the coup in Mali, which saw 18 people killed, including a 12-year-old boy. But there was no justice for the families of those injured and killed by the defense and security forces during the protests from May to August last year.
Today, Apr. On the 23rd, Amnesty International published the results of a report on the injured and the victims that occurred entitled “Killed, wounded and forgotten? Responsibility for the murders during the demonstrations and the coup in Mali”.
Following on-site and remote interviews with the victims’ families, representatives of civil society, journalists and members of the judiciary, he recounted the use of deadly force by the armed forces in the cities of Kayes and Sikasso, as well as in the capital Bamako. .
The military took power in Mali after forcing President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to step down. It was Mali’s fourth coup since independence in 1960 and the second in a decade. His resignation followed months of opposition protests in the capital, and the soldiers who orchestrated the coup said it was done to save the country. The international community has strongly denounced the ouster, with soldiers vowing to oversee the transition to new elections and elect an interim civilian leader.
According to Amnesty International, investigations revealed that 18 people were killed and dozens were injured, despite military claims that the coup was bloodless. The organization says the lack of accountability is worrying.
“Many victims have been hit or injured in the chest, sometimes in the back. Many were bystanders or people at work or at home, which indicated that the security forces were not firing in self-defense or in response to an imminent threat of death or serious injury, in violation of international standards, ”Amnesty International said.
The document lists several cases of fatal shots fired by security forces, supported by testimonies and statements from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). This included the May 6 killing of a man in Sikasso, a city in southern Mali.
“Despite this, the authorities did not investigate the use of firearms by law enforcement against protesters in Sikasso, leaving the families of those killed without justice, truth and reparation,” the report reads.
Five days after the Sikasso incident, violent protests against police deaths resulted in further bloodshed. According to the report, an off-duty police officer shot a 17-year-old fleeing detention. He adds that while the agent was suspended, the teenager’s death sparked widespread protests, with angry mobs attacking police stations and government buildings. He claims that the police fired live shots into the crowd, leaving a 30-year-old man and a 12-year-old boy dead.
Amnesty’s report said lack of accountability for police deaths triggered riots in other areas of Mali, adding that July protests that turned violent in the capital were “ heavily repressed by the authorities, ” adding that the military they fired on crowds of demonstrators. , leaving 4 dead and dozens injured.
“Although some protesters threw stones at the security forces, occupied public buildings and, at times, refused to comply with orders given by law enforcement, it is clear from the cases documented by Amnesty International that most of the killings and of the seriously injured are the result of the use of force by the security forces, “the report said.
Protesters took to the streets with numerous complaints. There was anger over the parliamentary election results, stringent measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including restrictions on freedom of movement and peaceful assembly, high unemployment, security and social complaints.
However, bystanders also became victims, including Ibrahim Traore ‘, a 16-year-old boy, who was reportedly shot twice by police. His brother told Amnesty International that he had been denied a copy of Traore’s autopsy report.
The human rights group says it worked hard to ensure it could name and face the victims so that they are not forgotten. Despite the progress, it is added that there is a lack of accountability. They say they have been told that investigations into the lethal use of force by the security forces have been opened, but at the time, February 2021, those probes were in the preliminary stages.
Amnesty International says it is time for accuracy and accountability. Calls on the transitional authorities to ensure impartial and timely investigations into cases of excessive and lethal use of force by law enforcement, to protect freedoms of expression and assembly according to international human rights standards and to ensure that the authorities law enforcement agencies comply with the fundamental principles of the United Nations on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement agencies.
“The Malian authorities must demonstrate their determination to fight impunity by recognizing these killings first. Victims of the illegal use of force and firearms and their families must receive justice, truth and full reparation, ”said Amnesty International.
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service