Twenty-one bodies have been found in a mass grave located in Mali’s Diago village. The bodies have not been identified; however, the location near a military camp has led authorities to link the grave to the March 2012 coup led by General Amadou Sanogo and subsequent attempted April 2012 counter-coup. During the coup, two warring factions supported different leaders. Those wearing green berets supported Sanogo while those wearing red berets felt allegiance to the ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure.
Alasane Diarra, who is a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense, spoke about the recent discovery of the mass grave. “At the military camp in Diago, there were both green berets and red berets soldiers. We do not know which group the soldiers in the grave belonged to. The investigators have been working on the case since April, so just after the coup. They have known about the grave for a while, but when they finally went there and opened the grave, there were more bodies than they previously thought,” Diarra said.
The societal upheaval that Mali experienced in the aftermath of the fighting, has led the current authorities to bring charges against Sanogo, who has been arrested and charged with complicity in kidnapping. According to Mali’s chief prosecutor Daniel Tessougue, “We will add murder to the charges (against Sanogo). If we find there are signs of torture we will add that, too.”
Though authorities have just recently uncovered the soldiers from the mass grave, residents of Diago were previously aware of the grave. Yacouba Coulibaly, a local resident, spoke with Reuters. “We saw authorities come and exhume the bodies last night. We told the authorities a long time ago that there was a mass grave here from when soldiers came to bury people here in 2012. (It) was not a secret here in Diago,” Coulibaly said.[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]