Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by fighting in northern Mali and dozens have been subjected to arbitrary detention, extra-judicial executions or sexual violence including rape, Amnesty International said today.
In a report, Mali: Five months of crisis, armed rebellion and military coup, Amnesty International catalogues a litany of human rights violations committed against the backdrop of a food shortage affecting 15 million people in the Sahel region.
“After two decades of relative stability and peace, Mali is now facing its worst crisis since independence in 1960,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher who has just returned from a three week research mission to the country.
“The entire north of the country has been taken over by armed groups who are running riot. Ten of thousands of people have fled the region, creating a humanitarian crisis in southern Mali and in neighbouring countries.”
During the research mission Amnesty International delegates visited the Malian capital Bamako and four refugee sites in Niger, about 200 kilometres north of the capital Niamey.