Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Gregory W. Meeks and Michael McCaul, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Representatives Karen Bass and Christopher Smith, Chair and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights, released the following statement following recent reports of mass killings of civilians in central Mali.  

“We are deeply disturbed by reports indicating the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) and Russia-backed Wagner mercenaries massacred over 300 civilians and buried other civilian victims, some children, in mass graves in central Mali. Human Rights Watch described this joint operation as the worst single atrocity reported in Mali’s decade-long conflict. 

We vehemently condemn such reprehensible acts that underscore a pattern of practice in Africa and elsewhere with the Russian Federation’s fingerprints all over it. The Malian junta has decided that solving the country’s security challenges requires it to align with Putin’s agents who are pursuing a campaign of atrocities in Mali – a short-sighted and counterproductive endeavor that will further destabilize the country and erode the trust of the Malian people. 

The United States stands with the people of Mali in their pursuit of justice and peace. It is imperative that Mali’s junta condemns these atrocities, grant access to investigators from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and other human rights organizations who seek to confirm these reports, identify those culpable, and offer a path toward greater transparency and accountability.