• World - Africa
  • Updated: March 27, 2024

Mali: Army drone strikes kill 13 civilians, including 7 children

Mali:  Army drone strikes kill 13 civilians, including 7 chi

A photo of a U.S. Predator drone over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, (AP Photo)

Mali's army conducted drone strikes in the northern region of the country, resulting in the deaths of at least 13 civilians, including seven children aged between two and 17, Amnesty International said.

The strikes occurred on March 17 in the area of Amasrakad. One witness reported losing his wife and six children in the air raid.

While the army claimed that the strikes targeted and neutralized terrorists, Amnesty International's investigation, based on survivor accounts, contradicted this assertion.

The first strike hit a pick-up truck, followed by a second strike on a makeshift shelter where residents were seeking refuge, resulting in the immediate deaths of nine individuals. Three more people later succumbed to their injuries, and a woman discovered that her unborn fetus had also perished.

“It is unconscionable that whole families could be killed by drone strikes, without any accountability or justice,” said Amnesty’s Samira Daoud.

“Authorities in Mali must ensure an effective and independent investigation into the killings of these civilians.”

Amnesty International condemned the civilian casualties and called for an independent investigation into the incident. Mali has been grappling with jihadist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as internal conflicts and banditry, since 2012.

The country has been under military rule following coups in 2020 and 2021, exacerbating the security and humanitarian crisis.

The army has been conducting intensified military operations against these groups since mid-2023, including regular drone strikes.

The escalation of military activities in regions like Kidal and Gao has led to increased displacement, with many people seeking refuge in places like Amasrakad.

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