Mauritania’s foreign ministry has accused Mali’s army of crimes against its nationals after dozens of protesters said their fellow countrymen had been killed “in cold blood”.
Mali’s ambassador Mohamed Dibassy was called in to hear a “strong protest against the recent, recurring criminal acts”, committed by the army following the disappearance of several Mauritanians just over the border, the ministry said.
In January, seven Mauritanians died in a border region, although after an inquiry, Bamako said there was no evidence linking its army to the deaths.
Another incident took place over the weekend when two Mauritanians were shot at on their way back to Abel Bagrou, near the Malian border.
Sources say some of the killed Mauritians were accused of links to jihadist groups operating in Mali.
The Jeune Afrique website says they were shot by a group “affiliated to Mali’s army” said to be Russia’s Wagner Group, which is believed to be helping Mali tackle the Islamist militants.
Mali’s ruling military junta has not reacted to Mauritania’s accusations.
Since West African regional body Ecowas imposed sanctions on Mali because of the military takeover, Mauritania has been one of the few countries helping it get round the isolation.