The army in Mali announced on Friday evening that it had killed more than 200 militants it said belonged to “armed terrorist groups” during an operation in the center of the country, while the United Nations condemned reports of violence targeting civilians.
The army said in a statement that this “large-scale” operation took place in the “Mura area, 17 km northeast of Kwakjuru in the Djinne district” between March 23 and 31.
He added that the strikes, carried out by ground and air forces, targeted “a stronghold of extremist groups that have launched armed attacks for ten years to control areas in central and northern Mali.”
The statement continued, “This operation comes in the wake of very accurate information that allowed determining the location of a meeting between several (armed factions) in Mora.”
The operation led to the killing of 203 belonging to “armed terrorist groups”, the arrest of 51 and the recovery of “large quantities of weapons and ammunition”.
In this context, the United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) expressed today, Saturday, its “grave concern over reports of violence against civilians.”
And the “MINUSMA” announced in a statement last Thursday that acts of violence have claimed dozens of civilians in recent weeks in the center of the east of the country and the Triangle Border region.
This vast region witnessed weeks of violence and clashes between many regular and irregular armed formations, including groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.
In its statement Thursday, MINUSMA expressed its “deep concern” about the deterioration of the security situation significantly in recent weeks in the so-called Triangle border region between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
The army responds
For his part, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio, in a report submitted to the Security Council this week, called on the military in Mali and its “partners” to respect their “international obligations” during their counter-terrorism operations.
The Malian army responded in its statement Friday evening that “respect for human rights as well as international humanitarian law remain a priority in the conduct of operations.”
The latest United Nations figures show that nearly 18,000 people have fled to Niger to escape the fighting in northern Mali between the various armed factions.