By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ISTANBUL (AA) - France on Monday slammed the expulsion of the director of the human rights division of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
"France strongly condemns the decision taken by the Malian junta to demand the departure of the director of the human rights division of MINUSMA, Mr. Guillaume Ngefa-Atondoko Andali," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"We commend the commitment and work of MINUSMA and its human rights division, which have brought to light the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law of which the Malian populations are victims and of which In particular, terrorist groups are responsible, but also Wagner's Russian mercenaries," the ministry added.
The UN Security Council and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in their last strategic review underlined the need for Mali to respect the entire mandate of MINUSMA, including with regard to human rights, it added.
Mali on Sunday ordered Andali to leave the country within 48 hours after declaring him persona non grata in a government statement.
Last year, Mali indicated that deals with Russia’s Wagner Group were motivated by the French drawdown of its troops in the country.
Western leaders and rights groups have expressed concerns about the actions of Wagner in Mali and in particular about its alleged crimes against certain communities such as the Fulani.
But the Malian government has referred to Wagner personnel as instructors from the Russian military.
Since 2012, Mali has been battling violence orchestrated by militant and terrorist groups in northern and central parts of the country.