GENEVA / MALI ATTACKS REAX

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26-Mar-2019 00:02:18
Mali’s authorities have been urged by the UN to bring to justice so-called "self-defence" groups responsible for horrific intercommunal attacks on communities in central Mali, after a weekend assault that claimed the lives of more than 150 people, including some 50 children. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / MALI ATTACKS REAX
TRT: 2:21
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 26 MARCH 2019 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, exterior Palais des Nations
2. Wide shot: Press Room III.
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“These people are deliberately targeted, women, men and children, simply for being a part of the Fulani community.”
4. Wide shot, journalists
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“Mali is struggling with fighting violent extremism. And I understand that many of these communities, either they are using this as a pretext for intercommunal violence, or they are painting themselves as so-called self-defence groups and they are taking the law into their own hands and getting rid of what they perceive to be the threat of violent extremism, which of course, ends up meaning that many children are mercilessly killed, people’s bodies are thrown into wells, people are burned alive in their own homes.”
6. Med shot, journalists
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Christophe Boulierac, Spokesperson, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
“The first assessments speak for themselves: one-third of people killed are children, half of the injured people are children. The schools are increasingly threatened, so the threat against children is clear, and children are paying the highest price of this crisis in Mali.”
8. Med shot, journalists
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“These traditional disputes have always been there, but lately it has taken on a particularly deadly turn because entire Fulani communities - and we are talking about millions of people - are being painted as violent extremists simply because they are Muslim.”
10. Med shot, journalist
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR):
“We are urging the Government to conduct prompt investigations with a view to justice and accountability, to break this circle of impunity. We have deployed a team as well as I mentioned, with crime scene investigators as well as human rights officers, and they will be conducting interviews in the affected villages to try to establish what happened.”
12. Various shots, journalists

STORYLINE:

Mali’s authorities have been urged by the UN to bring to justice so-called "self-defence" groups responsible for horrific intercommunal attacks on communities in central Mali, after a weekend assault that claimed the lives of more than 150 people, including some 50 children.

The attack last Saturday (23 Mar) in Ogossagou in the Mopti region is just the latest in a series of incidents since March 2018 that has resulted in some 600 deaths of women, children and men, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today (26 Mar).

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said, “we are urging the Government to conduct prompt investigations with a view to justice and accountability, to break this circle of impunity.”

She added, “we have deployed a team as well as I mentioned, with crime scene investigators as well as human rights officers, and they will be conducting interviews in the affected villages to try to establish what happened.”

According to survivors’ testimonies, victims were thrown down wells and homes and warehouses were burned, destroying the livelihoods of the whole community.

UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also condemned the latest violence and its arbitrary nature, noting that the injuries sustained by children were mostly gunshot-related, burns and fractures.

The UN agency also warned of rising numbers of people forced to flee violence, with 56,400 internally displaced people in Mopti region at the end of 2018, compared with just 2,000 in 2017.

UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said, “the first assessments speak for themselves: one-third of people killed are children, half of the injured people are children,” in reference to Saturday’s attack.

He add, “the schools are increasingly threatened, so the threat against children is clear, and children are paying the highest price of this crisis in Mali.”

Survivors of Saturday’s Ogossagou violence were mostly people of the Fulani ethnic community.

They said that traditional hunters carried out the raid in the village, apparently using automatic weapons, hunting rifles and other weapons, according to OHCHR.

Another attack was reported in the village of Welingara, three kilometres west of Ogossagou, that led to the death of one person.

OHCHR spokesperson Shamdasani said, “these people are deliberately targeted, women, men and children, simply for being a part of the Fulani community.”

She explained, “these traditional disputes have always been there, but lately it has taken on a particularly deadly turn because entire Fulani communities - and we are talking about millions of people - are being painted as violent extremists simply because they are Muslim.”

Mali “is struggling with fighting violent extremism”, Shamdasani added, noting that “many of these communities, either they are using this as a pretext for intercommunal violence, or they are painting themselves as so-called self-defence groups and they are taking the law into their own hands and getting rid of what they perceive to be the threat of violent extremism.”

Shamdasani also reiterated that the result is that “many children are mercilessly killed, people’s bodies are thrown into wells, people are burned alive in their own homes.”

To assist the authorities, a team of 10 human rights officers, a child protection officer and two crime scene investigators from the United Nations Police (UNPOL) of the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have been deployed to Mopti to conduct a special investigation into Saturday’s attacks.

According to OHCHR, some investigations have been established by the authorities, but they largely fail to result in trials. The UN human rights office noted that the Government has dissolved the Dan Nan Ambassagou militia, composed of Dogon traditional hunters, which is accused of having committed some these atrocities. The Office urges prompt investigations of the alleged crimes committed by all groups.
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