Allegations of crimes against civilians in Moura, Mali: an independent investigation must take place

Press release
en es fr
Michele Cattani / AFP

Bamako, Dakar, Paris, Quebec, April 6, 2022. The Association Malienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH), Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Amnesty International (AI) express their deepest concern about the allegations of crimes against civilians in Moura, in central Mali. Our organisations call for a full investigation of the incidents that allegedly took place in this locality, which have cost the lives of hundreds of people, according to survivors and local actors interviewed by our organizations. We demand that thorough, independent, and impartial judicial investigations be conducted by the Malian authorities to establish the facts, determine who is responsible, and, if necessary, bring justice to the victims.

Between 27 and 31 March 2022, operations carried out by the Malian armed forces (FAMa) targeting armed groups reportedly resulted in the death of many civilians in Moura, the capital of the rural commune of Togué Mourari, circle of Djenné, in the Mopti region. The General Staff of the Armed Forces mentioned, in a communiqué dated 1 April 2022, "air-land actions" carried out by special forces, and announced a toll of 203 members of "armed terrorist groups" killed and 51 arrested. In a second communiqué issued on 5 April 2022, the Malian military authorities declared that the FAMa were "subject to unfounded allegations of exactions on the civilian population" and reiterated that "respect for human rights and international humanitarian law [remained] a priority in the conduct of [their] operations".

According to the testimonies collected by our organisations, many civilians, including fairground workers and civilian residents, were killed during this operation, which took place during and after the weekly Moura fair, and while the FAMa allegedly carried out a five-day blockade around the village.

"To be effective, the legitimate fight against terrorism must necessarily be carried out with strict respect for human rights and in particular the protection of the civilian population. The protection of the population is the primary responsibility of the transitional authorities. Following the declarations made by the General Staff of the Armed Forces, the Malian State has a duty to be fully transparent in the conduct of its military operations,"

declared Mr. Drissa Traoré, Secretary General of the FIDH.

Our organisations believe that the seriousness of the alleged facts, which, if verified, could constitute war crimes, require thorough and independent judicial investigations, in order to shed full light on these events.

"Our organisations recall that the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality as prescribed by international humanitarian law must be respected in all places and under all circumstances by all parties to the conflict. Attacks targeting civilian populations, those conducted indiscriminately, or those with a disproportionate impact on civilian populations, are war crimes,"

declared Samira Daoud, Head of the West and Central Africa Desk of Amnesty International.

Our organisations also reiterate their call to the Malian transitional authorities and the various forces present in Mali to make the protection of the civilian population an absolute and effective priority, including by actively combating the impunity of perpetrators of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law without any discrimination.

"We call for investigations to be carried out by the Malian civilian judicial authorities in addition to the establishment of an independent commission of enquiry. To this end, we call on Mali’s international partners, in particular MINUSMA, the United Nations, ECOWAS, the African Union and the European Union, to maintain increased attention and a constant commitment to the fight against impunity for all perpetrators of human rights violations,"

said Aristide Nononsi, Mali Director of Lawyers Without Borders Canada

Racki Gakou Communication and Advocacy Manager,
Emilie Simard, Head Communications,, +1. 418 907-2607

Raphaël Lopoukhine, Editorial and Press Relations Manager, + 33 6 72 28 42 94,
Eva Canan, Press Officer,

AMDH : Mr. Moctar Mariko, AMDH President, Tel : 76 42 35 70

Amnesty International : Samuel Hanryon, Press Manager,

Read more