from RUDD KONTE in Bamako, Mali
BAMAKO, (CAJ News) – AT least 408 children, some as young as three months old, have been killed and maimed during the conflict in Mali over the past two years.
This as the West African country reported a decrease in such violations and sexual violence against the minors but an increase in the recruitment of children by armed groups and government forces.
Statistics disclosed by the United Nations (UN) covers the period from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022.
According to the Secretary General’s report, 144 children were killed and 264 maimed.
This represents a reduction from the 495 child casualties verified during the previous reporting period.
Some 300 casualties could not be attributed to a specific armed perpetrator but most casualties during the latest reporting period were attributed to the Malian Defence and Security Forces (18).
Smaller numbers are blamed on such groups as the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), Jama‘a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), Dan Nan Ambassagou (DNA) militia, Dozo traditional hunters and Fulani armed elements.
The country task force verified that 50 Malian children, all girls between 12 and 17 years, were subjected to rape and sexual violence during the reporting period, compared with 74 child survivors verified as at the writing of the previous report.
Of the 50 girl survivors verified during the latest reporting period, 16 were exposed during their association with armed groups. Some were forcibly married to combatants.
The country task force verified the recruitment and use of 901 children (754 boys, 147 girls) aged between 4 and 17 years. A majority(572) were below the age of 15 at the time of recruitment.
The total (901) represents a considerable increase compared with 516 in the previous report.
An average of 38 children were recruited and used per month during the current reporting period, compared with an average of 16 children per month during the previous period. 16.
Of the latest total, 661 cases were attributed to armed groups, 98 to the Malian armed forces and 142 cases to unidentified perpetrators.
Mali, the nation of some 21,9 million people, has suffered ceaseless conflict since a military coup in 1968, eight years after independence from France.
– CAJ News