The Niger National Human Rights Commission this Saturday accused the army of extrajudicial executions of more than 70 people after discovering up to six mass graves in Tillaberi, an Islamist uprising area in the northwest of the country.
The victims were reportedly killed with sharp and short arms earlier this year. The commission investigated complaints about the disappearance of 102 civilians between March 27 and April 2 following a military operation in the region.
“There were executions of unarmed civilians. The mission found at least 71 bodies in six mass graves,” said President of the Pan-African Network for Peace, Democracy and Development, Abdoulaye Seydou, according to the BBC network. Seydou’s organization participated in the investigation.
“Members of the Defense and Security Forces (FDS) are responsible for these summary and extrajudicial executions,” he added. However, it is currently unknown whether the military leadership is involved, he admitted.
International human rights groups have charged the armed forces of Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso with dozens of extrajudicial executions as part of the campaign against Islamist militias and other armed groups in the Sahel.