DAKAR (Reuters) – The former head of Mali’s militaries left the town of Ogossagou unprotected earlier this year in spite of many warnings of an imminent massacre in which 35 people died, according to a United Nations report.
The event highlights a failure by Mali’s security forces to secure civilians that is weakening efforts to halt spiralling ethnic and jihadist violence in West Africa’s Sahel region, it stated.
In February, army chief Keba Sangare enabled a military unit tasked with safeguarding Ogossagou in central Mali to withdraw despite repetitive phone call and messages about a most likely attack, according to the report seen by Reuters on Friday ahead of its official release.
Just ten hours later on, an ethnic Dogon militia robbed the village of Fulani herders, killing 35, consisting of ladies and kids as young as 4.
” Victims were chased into bushes, and some were mutilated and others decapitated,” said the report compiled by the U.N.’s panel of specialists on Mali.
A year earlier, the massacre of 160 civilians in Ogossagou had actually prompted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to purchase an army unit be positioned in the location to secure the village.
Sangare “gave an incorrect guarantee to his hierarchy, including the Minister of Defence, that the unit would not leave before the arrival of the replacement unit”, according to the report.
The army did not react to an ask for comment. Sangare could not be reached for comment.
Following the attack Sangare was suspended and later changed, however the event included to public anger over the authorities’ perceived incompetence that has actually led to large-scale protests this summer season requiring Keita’s resignation.
Mali has actually had a hard time to gain back stability because a 2012 uprising by Tuaregs in the north was hijacked by al Qaeda-linked Islamist militants.
Former colonial power France intervened in 2013 to drive back militants. However in spite of the existence of countless peacekeepers, Islamist groups have actually bounced back, stiring ethnic competitions to boost recruitment and destabilise the area.
Reporting by Aaron Ross; Extra reporting by Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako; Composing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Alessandra Prentice and Giles Elgood