POSTED: 2:51 a.m. HST, Apr 30, 2012
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — A leading human right watchdog says that all parties to the conflict in north Mali have committed war crimes including summary executions, rape and the use of child soldiers this month.
Human Rights Watch said Monday that Tuareg rebels raped young girls, Islamist militants carried out public floggings and government forces arbitrarily detained ethnic Tuaregs.
Malian government troops, left in disarray after a coup d'etat in the capital, fled major towns in northern Mali in late March.
The area was quickly taken over by Tuareg fighters who want an independent state in north Mali and Islamic militants who instead want Sharia law to be imposed.
Human Rights Watch called on commanders to stop the abuses and punish those responsible for the crimes.