The military, MNLA, Ansar al-Dine, and MUJAO committed serious human rights abuses in the north. These included arbitrary killings, abuse, and disappearances. Most military abuses targeted Tuareg and ethnic Arab rebels and were in reprisal for attacks by those groups. The MNLA, Ansar al-Dine, MUJAO, and progovernment militias used child soldiers during the year.
On April 6, the government established the Commission for Dialogue and Reconciliation, but the commission had not begun investigations by year’s end, and its mandate remained unclear. The government appointed a new minister of national reconciliation and development of the north on September 8. The International Criminal Court opened investigations in the country in January.
The government arrested more than 200 rebel fighters linked to the MNLA, MUJAO, or Ansar al-Dine. In September the government ordered the release of 100 MNLA detainees in accordance with the June 18 Ouagadougou Accords.
Killings: The military, rebel groups, and terrorist organizations killed persons in the north.
On May 26, government soldiers reportedly arrested Mohamed Hamedou Ag Mohamed Asseleh and another Tuareg man. The soldiers subsequently stripped and harassed the two men until a relative of the men intervened and convinced the soldiers to release them. Six hours later the soldiers rearrested the two men, whom they subsequently killed.
On August 11, vigilantes killed Abdoulayed Ag Mohamed Ali while he was voting in his hometown of Lere, near Timbuktu, for alleged association with the MNLA. The victim was the Tuareg brother of the then minister of culture. On August 16, MNLA members allegedly killed seven Peul (Fulani) herders in reprisal, also near Lere. The government and MINUSMA opened separate investigations.
In response to the September 2012 killing of 16 Mauritanian and Malian clerics, the Ministry of Justice established an independent commission of inquiry. The commission began its investigation in August but stopped work during the presidential election and had not resumed operations by year’s end.
There were no developments in the November 2012 abduction of a French national or in the cases of the three remaining Algerian diplomats abducted in April 2012.
Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Human rights organizations reported numerous allegations of physical abuse by military, rebel, and terrorist forces. From May 6 to 8, soldiers detained nine men on allegations they were involved with MUJAO and paraded them in various villages around Lere. The soldiers beat the men over a two-day period, choked them with ropes, and hung them from trees for up to 12 hours to force confessions. The soldiers subsequently passed the detainees to gendarmes in Niono for transportation to Bamako.
Human rights organizations reported that on March 1, a soldier raped a woman in Sevare and prevented her from reporting the rape to authorities.
On February 10, MUJAO forces in Gao abducted Al-Wata Ould Badji after he publicly praised the French military intervention. MUJAO fighters returned him, with his body covered in burns, to his family in Gao days later. He died in the hospital in Gao due to his injuries.
On February 8, in Gao a suicide bomber on a motorbike approached a group of soldiers and detonated an explosive belt, resulting in his death and injury to one of the soldiers.
Child Soldiers: Prior to the French intervention in January, at least 40 children served as soldiers for MUJAO, Ansar al-Dine, and AQIM, participating in active fighting and operating checkpoints in warzones, particularly during the rebel offensive beginning January 10. Most children recruited were boys, but reports indicated that girls might also have been recruited and later forced to serve as sex slaves.
Following the French intervention and cessation of hostilities, the government passed legislation criminalizing the use of child soldiers and opened centers to rehabilitate child soldiers and return them to their families. The government disbanded the unsanctioned progovernment militia groups Gando Izo and Gando Koy, which trained children to participate in armed hostilities, after the government regained control of the areas around Mopti and Sevare. The government placed the children trained as soldiers into rehabilitation centers. Some child soldiers as young as 13 remained in the Bamako Central Prison through May, when authorities released and integrated them into rehabilitation centers.
See the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report at 2009-2017.state.gov/j/tip/.
Other Conflict-related Abuses: Several human rights organizations reported that on February 14, in Timbuktu, government soldiers detained Ali Ould Mohamed, Dann Ould Dahama, Mohamed Ould Dahama, Maouloud Fassoukoye, and Mohamed Ould Sidi Ali for suspected membership in violent religious groups. On February 27, the military detained five soldiers in Bamako pending investigation into the disappearance of the five men. The investigation continued at year’s end.
The Ministry of Defense established at least three commissions of inquiry to investigate forced disappearances perpetrated by the military during the year and in 2012. At year’s end investigations continued.
Gendarmes in Kati detained between 50 and 60 alleged members of violent groups in Camp A, where they awaited trial at year’s end. Human rights groups reported that conditions in Camp A were deplorable. Authorities kept the detainees in two rooms with little ventilation and did not allow them to leave the rooms. Authorities claimed other prisons were too full to accommodate these detainees.
Prior to implementation of the Ouagadougou Accords, the MNLA imprisoned 42 individuals who allegedly fought against them in Kidal, including at least two children under age 15. The MNLA released some of the detainees in June, handing them over to government authorities. MINUSMA and the government provided the children social services and family reunification, where possible.