In the area, insecurity persists despite the patrols of the various forces present on site. A few days after our shooting, dozens of civilians were killed about 60 km from Ménaka.
«Between the night of the 11th and the morning of 12/12/2018, armed bandits on more than twenty (20) motorcycles broke into several localities south of the Menaka region and executed civilians from the Idaksahak community», the movement for the salvation of the Azawad (MSA) announced in a statement. According to the armed group, the death toll is 47 dead.
« This is an area that has been a little bit isolated in recent years since the signing of the agreement. This year, there have been some game-changing interventions such as the Barkhane strikes; the GATIA, the MSA and the FAMa patrols which have carried out major operations to destroy the terrorist bases. After the operations, there are practically no existing bases. But some individuals on motorcycles roam in the area. And often, they attack people», Adboul Wahab Ag Mohamed, president of the interim authority of Menaka, explained a few days earlier.
According to a resident of the city, «even if you see a suspect, you cannot report him because if you do it, the person can kill you on the spot». Day and night, peacekeepers conduct patrols in support of the Malian and local armed forces. «At any time, we go out. But one of the worries is that the city is in darkness. When we drive with our vehicles for example at night, the bandits see us through the headlights», says a UN peacekeeper of the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). And to add: «the problem we have here in Menaka is that the population is afraid to report the bandits because justice does not exist. If the bandit knows that he is being reported, the person is signing his death sentence».
MINUSMA condemned the «series of attacks that led to the execution of civilians and called on the Malian authorities to investigate these incidents».