According to various local sources contacted by RFI, the Malian army would have carried out arbitrary arrests and executions outside judicial areas in the area of Sofara, the district of Djenné, in the Mopti region. The Malian army denies this, while videos with particularly violent content are circulating on social networks.
A video interrogates a man presented as an imam by a Malian soldier who twists his limbs to force him to admit his membership in a terrorist group. In another there are corpses that show terrible signs of abuse in the brush.
According to various local and consistent sources contacted by RFI and demanding anonymity, the Malian army would have arrested almost a hundred people, mainly Fulani, from September 3 and for about a week, especially at Sofara’s weekly fair. About ten should have been released.
For the others, the most serious fears are expressed: at least three bodies have already been found, including a formally identified one, near Sofara’s military camp. But the sources in question actually produce several dozen corpses, found by farmers. According to some sources, it was the Malian soldiers themselves who indicated the locations.
In recent months, Sofara has hosted a large number of internally displaced people who fled the fighting between jihadists and self-defense groups in Djenné’s circle.
Asked by the RFI, the Malian army acknowledges the authenticity of the video showing the beatings suffered by the imam – “disciplinary sanctions have been taken” – but does not recognize the hundreds of arrests and even less murders. “Twenty-two people have been arrested and are currently at the Sévaré Gendarmerie for investigation,” the Malian army communications directorate said, “for the rest, everything is false. We are trying to undermine Fama’s credibility.”