Mali government calls on soldiers to respect human rights after reports of killings

Associated Press

SEVARE, Mali - Mali's government is warning soldiers to respect human rights following reports that the military killed civilians at a bus stop in central Mali.

A witness told The Associated Press that he saw soldiers fatally shoot at least three people and dump their bodies in a nearby well.

A French-based group has cited at least 33 deaths.

A government statement says "the army should be irreproachable."

Mali's military spokesman has called the reports "absolutely false."

Witnesses say the killings took place two weeks ago after the Islamists surged south and seized the town of Konna. France began its military operation to oust the Islamists the following day.

The Islamists rule northern Mali, and human rights groups have warned of retaliatory violence.

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