The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“Canada is very concerned by reports of hundreds of civilians killed and injured last week in the context of a counter-terrorism operation in the village of Moura, Mali. We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the civilian victims. Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms this attack on civilians and any violations of international humanitarian law.
“We are also deeply concerned by reports suggesting that the Wagner Group was implicated in this attack alongside the Malian Armed Forces. In December 2021, Canada and its partners had criticized the deployment in Mali of the Wagner Group, which is known to have close ties to the Russian leadership, noting the violations the Group had been accused of committing in other parts of the world. We are concerned that such violations against the Malian population will fuel terrorist recruitment efforts, undermining collective efforts in the fight against terrorism. Respect for human rights and international humanitarian law must be at the heart of all military operations.
“Canada calls on the Malian Armed Forces to respect human rights in the course of all their operations. We urge the transitional authorities in Mali to grant free, unrestricted and secure access to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to conduct a thorough and independent investigation of this attack. It is not too late for Malian authorities to reconsider their collaboration with foreign mercenaries, who are known to have a destabilizing effect on peace and security.
“Canada stands with the people of Mali and supports their right to peace and stability.”