Skip to main content

Mali: 21 bodies found in mass grave, Defense Ministry says

By Katarina Hoije, for CNN
updated 7:55 AM EST, Wed December 4, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The bodies are thought to be those of soldiers, a Ministry of Defense spokeswoman says
  • They are believed to have been killed after Mali's March 2012 coup
  • Investigators will seek to identify the men as they are removed from the mass grave
  • Coup leader Amadou Sanogo has been arrested, accused of complicity in kidnapping

Bamako, Mali (CNN) -- Malian authorities have found a mass grave containing 21 bodies thought to be soldiers killed while a junta chief was in power after a 2012 military coup, a Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Investigators found the bodies in a grave close to a military camp in the village of Diago, just north of Bamako, spokeswoman Alasane Diarra said.

Last week, Gen. Amadou Sanogo, who led the March 2012 coup, was arrested, charged with complicity in kidnapping.

A failed counter-coup shortly after he seized power pitted two army factions against each other: the green berets loyal to Sanogo and the red berets loyal to ousted President Amadou Toumani Toure.

"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," Diarra said.

Investigations into alleged kidnapping and killings after the military takeover that plunged the West African country into chaos have been ongoing since April 30, 2012.

"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 bodies are all male and from different ethnic groups, she said.

As the bodies are removed from the grave, forensic investigators will start the process of identifying the men.

"Families of soldiers who disappeared during the coup will be asked to come and identify their family members," Diarra said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT