Residents of central Mali towns are reporting that they have been targeted by the Malian military on the basis of their ethnicity and region of origin as suspected rebels, and that the military often disappears members of the Fulani ethnic group for torture in detention or extra-judicial executions.
“If we look like Fulani and don’t have an identity card, they kill us,” noted one Malian, whose cousin has been detained by the Malian military at a checkpoint for not having an ID and reportedly has since been executed. He added that many people in smaller villages never got an ID card in the first place.
A new report from Amnesty International noted widespread abuse by the Malian army, including extrajudicial killings and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas in the ongoing civil war.
Mali’s Justice Minister Malick Coulibaly shrugged off the concerns, saying that “no army in the world is perfect,” and citing torture and extrajudicial killings by the US military as proof that all militaries behave that way.