The Hague, NL, June 22, 2022– Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) strongly condemns the killing of 132 civilians in Bankass, central Mali, over the weekend. CIVIC warns all armed actors that civilians should not, under any circumstances, be targeted.
“With the increase of military operations in recent months, civilians are being massacred in what appear to be retaliatory attacks. This is a truly alarming trend,” said William Meeker, CIVIC’s Director for Africa. “Civilians in Mali face violence from all sides.”
On Monday, Mali’s transitional government said that at least 132 civilians were killed in a series of attacks by armed opposition groups (AOGs) in several towns in Bankass Circle. According to media reports, the attackers also burnt huts, houses, and stole cattle.
“Civilians bear the brunt of the conflict in the Sahel. Widespread and systematic attacks against civilians must stop,” says Meeker. “Malian authorities have an obligation to protect civilians from attacks, and armed opposition groups have an obligation to never target civilians.”
CIVIC calls on the Malian authorities to protect civilians from retaliatory attacks by prioritizing the protection of civilians in their operations. CIVIC also calls on the government to work jointly with the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, to implement proactive measures to dissuade potential attackers, including through the deployment of troops to protect civilian populations.
**CIVIC in the Sahel: **
Since 2018, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) has engaged with communities, the military, and community militias in the Sahel to improve the protection of civilians. Recognizing that civilians are the best agents of their own protection, CIVIC supports civilians to advocate for their protection, including with state and non-state security forces. In parallel, CIVIC provides training and advice to security forces in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Chad to further their efforts to better protect civilians. More here.
For more information and media inquiries, please contact:
In Niamey: Amina Issa Oumarou, Senior Manager, Advocacy, Policy and Communications for Sahel: firstname.lastname@example.org
In The Hague: Hajer Naili, Director of Communications: email@example.com , +33.6.03.50.53.93/ +1.917.889.5982 (WhatsApp)