Conflict & Justice

21 bodies found in Mali mass grave


Gendarmes work, on December 4, 2013 in Diago, outside Bamako, in the area where 21 bodies, believed to be the remains of soldiers close to Mali's ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure, have been found the day before in a mass grave.



Authorities in Mali have found a mass grave in the southern garrison town of Kati containing 21 bodies of what are believed to be soldiers killed in the country's 2012 junta.

Daniel Tessougue told The Associated Press his team started the exhumation at around 6 p.m. on Tuesday and finished uncovering all the remains at 3 a.m. on Wednesday.

The bodies are suspected to be those of the soldiers because the location of the grave matches what witnesses said was the spot where they were killed.

More from GlobalPost: Mali charges coup leader Amadou Sanogo with murder

The soldiers are said to have opposed Gen. Amadou Haya Sanogo, who was responsible for last year's coup that plunged the West African country into chaos, and his rise to power.

Sanogo was arrested last week and charged with complicity in kidnapping. Now that the bodies have been found, prosecutors say the charge will change to assassination.

He was also allegedly questioned at the time of his arrest about a failed counter-coup shortly after he seized power.

Mali's newly elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is now fighting to gain control of the army, which has been accused by human rights groups of using excessive violence, torture and being responsible for enforced disappearances.

He also faces the challenge of regaining state authority in the north, considered lawless after it was occupied by separatists and Islamist militants, who scattered in January due to a French-led intervention.