PARIS: Malian authorities are investigating claims of torture, killings and reprisals by its own soldiers against minority civilians suspected of links to Islamist militants – accusations that threaten to jeopardize international support for fighting terrorism in the Sahara.
Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly insisted to The Associated Press that his government is taking the claims seriously and won’t tolerate such ‘atrocities.’
But he acknowledges that it’s a tough and sensitive task to investigate them in a poor, violence-scarred country with a weak, military-led government.
Concerns have mounted in recent weeks about abuses by Malian forces amid the French-led military campaign against al-Qaida-linked rebels who overran northern Mali last year.
Arab and Tuareg families are particularly afraid of reprisals, minorities who are accused of having aided the rebels.