Torture in  [Mali]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Mali]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Mali]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Mali]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                        

Republic of Mali

Mali is among the 25 poorest countries in the world, with 65% of its land area desert or semidesert and with a highly unequal distribution of income. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for gold and cotton, its main exports.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Mali

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Mali.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

Deaths, Torture in Army Detention - Justice Ministry Should Conduct Investigations in the Mopti Region

Human Rights Watch, 9 April 2018

[accessed 10 April 2018]

A 57-year-old herder described being tortured by the soldiers. He said that at around 8 a.m. on March 12, six soldiers arrested him, his son, and a nephew at their home. The soldiers ordered them to walk to a spot outside the village, where he was blindfolded, and his hands and feet bound. He was severely beaten there for about 40 minutes. “One soldier held my head while another held my feet. The third began striking me with a machete on my back again and again until I lost consciousness.”

Another man, 42, detained in the same operation, was beaten with gun butts and a machete, and threatened with death: “They interrogated me while beating me and one threatened to slit my throat if I didn’t talk.”

On March 25, residents of Dogo told Human Rights Watch they had identified the bodies of six men, including a father and son, who had been arrested by security forces three days earlier. One said: “The last time we saw them alive they were in the custody of the soldiers. The next time we saw them they were in a common grave.”

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or download PDF at

[accessed 18 March 2015]


ABUSES BY STATE SECURITY FORCES - In 2014, the number of violations committed by the Malian army decreased, but soldiers were implicated in several cases of arbitrary detention, one instance of excessive use of force in responding to a demonstration in Kidal, and several summary executions, largely targeting Tuareg men. The military hierarchy made some effort to investigate and hold to account soldiers implicated in several of these incidents. Members of the security forces were also implicated in acts of extortion, bribe taking, and to a lesser extent rape.

Malian soldiers accused of torture, murder

Middle East Online, Gao Mali, 21 Feb 2013

[accessed 22 February 2013]

An AFP journalist saw four "pale skins" in Gao and Timbuktu, 900 kilometres northeast of Bamako, who bore marks of torture, such as cigarette burns, traces of electric shock treatment and the use of acid, broken bones, bruises, bullet wounds and signs of strangulation, as well as sexual abuse.

In one town, which cannot be named at the request of the victims, who also asked for anonymity, one man said that after he was beaten up and burned with cigarettes, soldiers poured acid down his nostrils.

"It's perhaps because I am Tamashek (Tuareg), I don't see any other reason," he said.

"I know that he is not an Islamist," said his doctor, who added that the victim was gravely ill because "the acid will lead to a shrinking of the oesophagus, perhaps cancer."

Elsewhere, a young pale-skinned woman lay on her sickbed with broken bones and several bullets in her body. She said that soldiers had assaulted her. Her doctor said she had also been raped.

In Timbuktu, journalists of the US news agency Associated Press (AP) said that they had found two Arabs buried in the sand, close to the town. The family of one of the victims said he had been arrested by Malian soldiers two weeks earlier.

3 suspects accuse Mali forces of torture

Associated Press AP, 1 February 2013

[accessed 2 February 2013]

The three suspects, who were tied together with a turban and one handcuff, all acknowledged having been members of the al Qaeda-linked group known as Ansar Dine, or Defenders of the Faith.

"To force me to talk they poured 40 liters (85 pints) of water in my mouth and over my nostrils which made it so that I could not breathe anymore. For a moment I thought I was even going to die," said one of the men, who gave his name as Ali Guindo and said he was from a village near the central Malian town of Niono.

"I sleep in the cold and every night they come pour freezing water over me.

All three prisoners described similar treatment. Their account could not be independently verified.

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 29 Jan 2014]


People suspected of being supporters of armed groups or targeted because they were Tuareg, were victims of torture and other ill-treatment or extrajudicial executions by security forces.

In January, soldiers arrested two Tuaregs accused of providing petrol to armed groups in Ménaka. They were beaten with rifle butts.

In April, soldiers arrested three unarmed men, including two Tuaregs and another man, all unarmed, accused of spying for the MNLA in Sévaré. They were beaten with rifle butts before being extrajudicially executed.

In September, the military arrested 16 Malian and Mauritanian nationals in Diabaly before extrajudicially executing them on suspicion of being supporters of Islamist armed groups. The 16 were members of a movement of Muslim preachers, the Dawa, who had come from Mauritania to attend an annual meeting of their movement in Bamako. An inquiry was set up but by the end of the year the results had not been made public.


Extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and torture

In May, after an attempted counter-coup, soldiers and police officers loyal to former President Touré were tortured and extrajudicially killed or were victims of enforced disappearance. Two soldiers were stabbed to death at Kati military camp near Bamako by army personnel loyal to the junta. More than 20 others were victims of enforced disappearance after being abducted from their cells. They remained unaccounted for at the end of the year. Some of the soldiers and police officers were subjected to sexual abuse and held in harsh conditions during their interrogation and detention.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 2 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however there were occasional reports that police abused civilians. On April 5, a court sentenced a police officer to one month in jail for physically abusing a civilian during questioning.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 2   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 2 February 2013]

The judiciary is not independent of the executive, though it has shown increased autonomy in rendering decisions that are unfavorable to the government, which has in turn respected the judgments. Local chiefs decide the majority of disputes in rural areas. Detainees are not always charged within the 48-hour period set by law, and there are lengthy delays in bringing defendants to trial.

Although there are reports of police brutality, courts have convicted some perpetrators. Prison conditions are harsh. The government permits human rights monitors to visit prisons, but at least one group has complained that cumbersome administrative procedures make investigations difficult.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatmentin the early years of the 21st Century- Mali",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Mali]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Mali]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Mali]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Mali]  [other countries]