Human Rights Watch says Wagner group killed civilians in operations with Malian army

By Anadolu Agency

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday that the Russian security firm Wagner has been helping the Malian army carry out raids and drone strikes since December that have killed many civilians, including children.

In a report titled “Mali: Military and Wagner Group’s Atrocities against Civilians” published by HRW, attention was drawn to Wagner’s targeting of civilians.

The report also indicates that wedding and funeral ceremonies have been targeted in attacks conducted with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with Wagner targeting a wedding on Jan. 16 and a funeral on Jan. 17, resulting in the deaths of at least 14 civilians, including four children.

“Mali’s Russia-backed transitional military government is not only committing horrific abuses, but it is working to eliminate scrutiny into its human rights situation,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Sahel researcher at HRW.

“The Malian authorities should urgently work with independent experts to monitor human rights violations and ensure that those responsible are held to account,” said Allegrozzi.

It is estimated that Russian private military contractors from the Wagner Group are present in many countries in Africa. Wagner provides military training to local forces, offers close protection to leaders and guards energy facilities.

The US Treasury Department announced in May 2023 that it would impose sanctions on the leader of the Wagner Group in Mali.