UN mission in Mali to investigate reports of mass civilian casualties, reportedly in the hundreds: UN

UNITED NATIONS— The UN mission in Mali is investigating reports of civilians killed during clashes last week between government troops and militants, a UN spokesman said.

Published reports vary in the number of civilian deaths, but they do agree the number is in the hundreds. They said the army of Mali engaged with militants believed associated with the Daesh or al Qaeda, known to be in the area.

“Our peacekeeping colleagues are very concerned about these reports, and they are working to verify the facts and circumstances of the incident, including whether human rights violations and abuses were committed,” said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Haq told reporters at a regular briefing that a fact-finding mission would travel to the area where the fighting occurred, about 400 km northeast of the capital, Bamako.

The mission itself, known as MINUSMA, said it is working with Malian authorities to carry out the inquiry.