UN Security Council delegation in Mali will push for a civilian government

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A UN Security Council delegation in Mali’s capital Bamako is expected to press the transitional government on Saturday to allow a civilian administration to take power after two coups in the West African country in less than a year.

Mali, a poor and landlocked nation that is home to at least 20 ethnic groups, is fighting jihadist attacks and intercommunal violence. Since 2012, the Islamist insurgency has spread to central Mali and has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.

The conflict has left thousands of dead and hundreds of thousands displaced, despite military interventions by the United Nations and France.

The UN delegation includes representatives from China, India, Russia and the United States and will visit Niger on Sunday.

The 15 representatives will meet with “senior members of Mali’s transitional government and civil society groups working to strengthen Mali’s democratic institutions,” a US statement said.

“The visit will help the delegation better understand Mali’s political and security challenges and ensure that the process of returning the country to a democratically elected civilian government by February 2022 continues as planned,” according to the US mission to the UN. .

Human Rights Watch called on the United Nations ahead of Saturday’s talks to pressure Mali to investigate reports of summary executions and disappearances allegedly carried out by security forces.

“The Malian authorities must investigate a series of alleged summary executions, enforced disappearances and incommunicado detentions by government security forces,” HRW said in a statement late Friday.

The New York-based group also called for an investigation into abuses by all parties to the conflict in Mali. HRW gave the example of 14 men who were last seen in September in detention by the security forces and who have since “disappeared or are being held incommunicado”.

It also took note of the discovery of “the bodies of three men allegedly executed after their arrest by soldiers in early October” near an army camp in the central city of Sofara.

“Mali’s transitional government should not be left behind while its soldiers are linked to a wave of abuses,” HRW Sahel Director Corine Dufka said in the statement.

( Jowhar with AFP)