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Malian troops recalled over 'abuse'

26 February 2013, 09:00

Dakar - Malian soldiers fighting Islamists in the north of the country have been recalled from the front line after being accused of abuses, an army spokesperson told the state television station ORTM late on Monday.

Those responsible had been recalled and would go before the relevant legal authorities Captain Modibo Naman Traore told the station.

Traore revealed the news after being asked about reports of soldiers committing abuses against civilians in the northwest city of Timbuktu, which French and Malian forces recaptured from Islamists rebels on January 28.

"Yes, it's true, but the chief of the general staff has acted," he answered.

While the spokesman did not go into details of the allegations, Human Rights Watch has reported witness accounts of soldiers near Timbuktu arrested on five suspects February 14 who have since disappeared.

French forces intervened on January 11 when Islamists fighters who seized the north of the country last March started moving south, threatening the capital.

In a lightning push north through January and into February, the French-led forces flushed out the Islamists from the northern towns that had been their strongholds and into the surrounding desert wilderness.

The Islamists fighters are now waging a guerilla campaign against the French and African forces in the north.


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