Malian fores ‘kill 11 extremists’ in clashes following ambush

The attacks highlighted the fragile security situation in the West African nation as it prepares to hold elections on July 29. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 23 July 2018

Malian fores ‘kill 11 extremists’ in clashes following ambush

  • A army patrol was ambushed by “terrorists” on Sunday morning in a forest in the central region of Segou
  • The patrol suffered “one dead and one wounded. On the enemy side, we counted 11 dead”

BAMAKO: Malian troops killed 11 extremists who had ambushed them in the center of the country, in clashes that also left one soldier dead, the defense ministry said.
Armed Tuareg groups supporting the government also reported assailants executed more than 20 people on Friday in a village in the northeast.
The attacks highlighted the fragile security situation in the West African nation as it prepares to hold elections on July 29, in which President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is seeking a second term.
A army patrol was ambushed by “terrorists” on Sunday morning in a forest in the central region of Segou, the ministry said in a statement.
The patrol suffered “one dead and one wounded. On the enemy side, we counted 11 dead.”
In a separate incident on Friday, “armed men” attacked the village of Tindinbawen, near the border with Niger, according to a joint statement from the Imghad and Allies Tuareg Self-Defense Force (Gatia) and the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA).
The two mainly Tuareg groups support the French and Malian forces.
The “attackers proceeded to summarily execute more than 20 people including elderly people and at the same time some members of the security post of the coalition,” the statement said.
Mali’s unrest stems from a 2012 ethnic Touareg separatist uprising, which was exploited by extremists in order to take over key cities in the north.
The extremists were largely driven out in a French-led military operation launched in January 2013.
But large stretches of the country remain outside of the control of the foreign and Malian forces, which are frequent targets of attacks, despite a peace accord signed with Tuareg leaders in 2015 aimed at isolating the extremists.
The violence has also spilled over into both Burkina Faso and Niger.


‘Disturbing’ allegations of rape in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: UN

Updated 22 January 2021

‘Disturbing’ allegations of rape in Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: UN

  • A UN representative said she was greatly concerned by serious allegations from the northern region

ADDIS ABABA: The UN says it has received “disturbing” reports of sexual violence and abuse in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region, including of individuals forced to rape members of their own family.
Pramila Patten, the UN’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said she was greatly concerned by serious allegations from the northern region, including “a high number of alleged rapes” in the Tigrayan capital Mekele.
“There are also disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, under threats of imminent violence,” Patten said in a statement Thursday.
“Some women have also reportedly been forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities.”
Patten called on all parties involved in the hostilities to commit to a zero-tolerance policy for crimes of sexual violence.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, announced military operations in Tigray in early November, saying they came in response to attacks by the regional ruling party on federal army camps.
Abiy declared victory after federal forces entered the regional capital in late November, though leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) remain on the run and have vowed to fight on.
Thousands have died in the conflict, according to the International Crisis Group, though a communications blackout and media and humanitarian access restrictions have made it difficult to assess the situation on the ground.
In her statement Thursday, Patten noted that “medical centers have indicated an increase in the demand for emergency contraception and testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which is often an indicator of sexual violence in conflict.”
She called for full humanitarian access to Tigray, including camps for displaced people “and refugee camps where new arrivals have allegedly reported cases of sexual violence.”
She voiced concern about “more than 5,000 Eritrean refugees in and around the area of Shire living in dire conditions, many of them reportedly sleeping in an open field with no water or food, as well as the more than 59,000 Ethiopians who have fled the country into neighboring Sudan.”
The caretaker administration in Tigray did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this month state television broadcast footage of a meeting during which an unidentified man in a military uniform expressed concern about rapes in Mekele.
“Why are women being raped in Mekele city?” the man said.
“It wouldn’t be shocking had it been happening during the war, because it is not manageable so it could be expected. But at this moment while federal police and local police are back in town, it is still happening.”