A confidential United Nations report points to possible Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group as responsible for a March massacre in central Mali that claimed the lives of more than 30 civilians.
The report, drawn up by UN experts and presented to the Security Council, includes eyewitness accounts pointing to the arrival of “white-skinned soldiers” in the Malian village of Robinet El Ataye, in the Ségou region. At least 33 civilians were killed there on March 5, including 29 Mauritanians and 4 Malians.
These “military” proceeded “to round up the older men and boys, tied their hands behind their backs and blindfolded them,” according to a witness, adding that they were subsequently arrested in the center of the village and the surrounding houses were ransacked.
Apparently and according to the document, the soldiers began beating the men, who were blindfolded and already immobilized, with truncheons and clubs, while other assailants “blocked the entrances to nearby houses and instructed women and children to stay inside.”
“They could only hear the screams of the men as they beat them,” according to witness.
They then took as many as 34 men, including 29 Mauritanians and four Malians, whose charred remains were discovered nearby the next day, according to testimonies collected.
The Russian mercenary group Wagner, which provides troops to the Malian military junta, is not mentioned in the report but DPA agency sources indicate that experts have no doubt that the mercenaries described were provided by the Kremlin-linked organization.
Among the evidence there is evidence that these military personnel used a type of rope that matches that used by the Russian Army.
Since the coup d’état in May 2021, Mali has been under the rule of a military junta with close ties to Russia and its Wagner mercenary group.
According to the UN report, the volatile security situation in Mali has created a security vacuum that has led to a sharp increase in civilian deaths, with more than 500 killed in the first three months of this year alone.