According to a UN report, the number of civilian deaths and human rights violations by the armed forces in West African Mali rose sharply in the first quarter of the year. The report released on Monday by the UN mission Minusma listed a total of 320 human rights violations by government troops “supported by military forces from abroad” from January to March – ten times the documented cases in the same period last year.

All parties to the conflict, including jihadists and militias, killed 543 civilians in the first quarter, four times as many as in the first quarter of 2021. The report leaves open who is meant by “foreign military forces”. Presumably, however, it is the Russian mercenary group Wagner, which has been active in Mali for some time.

The military junta that governs Mali has expanded its relations with Russia in recent months. According to her, she relies on Russian military trainers in the fight against the jihadists. The former colonial power France and its partners are convinced that these are members of the Wagner group.

According to the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), soldiers from the Malian army and white foreign soldiers killed 300 civilians in Moura, in the center of the country, between March 27 and 31 alone. The junta in Bamako denies these claims, saying they have “neutralized” 203 jihadists in Moura.