News / Africa

Mass Grave Found Near Mali Military Base

x
Reuters
Malian authorities have found a mass grave believed to contain the bodies of soldiers a week after the ex-junta leader was detained in connection with suspected crimes by the army.
 
A judicial source said 21 bodies had been found at the site in the village of Diago near the southern garrison town of Kati, about 30 km (19 miles) north of the capital Bamako.
 
A Reuters reporter at the scene said police were guarding the shallow grave on Wednesday. Diago residents said it was empty after Malian officials removed the corpses on Tuesday.
 
A week ago, former junta chief General Amadou Sanogo, who led the March 2012 coup that plunged Mali into chaos, was arrested and charged with complicity in kidnapping.
 
The case against Sanogo is part of efforts by newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to assert civilian control over the army, which has been accused by human rights groups of excessive violence and torture during a chaotic 18 months during which rebels occupied northern Mali last year.
 
“We saw authorities come and exhume the bodies last night,” Yacouba Coulibaly, a Diago resident, told Reuters.
 
“We told the authorities a long time ago that there was a mass grave here from when soldiers came to bury people here in 2012. The presence of the mass grave was not a secret here in Diago,” Coulibaly said.
 
A senior military source said authorities had been instructed to inspect the site by judge Yaya Karambe, who is presiding over Sanogo's case as well as those of several other soldiers questioned in an investigation into army crimes.
 
The main cases are the disappearance of a number of soldiers during a failed April 2012 “counter-coup” by soldiers loyal to ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure and the deaths of soldiers in a mutiny in Kati in September this year.
 
It was not immediately clear whose bodies were in the mass grave. But the figure of those found matches the number of soldiers, at least 20, that Human Rights Watch said had disappeared after the army in-fighting in April 2012.
 
Soon after the foiled plot, pro-Toure paratroopers known as “red berets” were denounced on state television as mercenaries.
 
After ceding power to an interim civilian administration, Sanogo headed a military committee tasked with reforming Mali's armed forces before being removed in August, shortly after the election of the new president.
 
The army's implosion allowed Tuareg separatists and Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda to occupy Mali's vast north until they were scattered during a French-led intervention in January.
 
Attacks in northern Mali in recent weeks highlight the lingering Islamist threat while the depth of the divisions in the army mean Keita will have to push through thorough reforms to revamp the West African state's demoralized military.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More