FILE PHOTO: UN Peacekeepers on an early morning patrol in Gao, Mali. (Jane Hahn for the Washington Post/Getty Images)The Malian government should step up efforts to investigate and prosecute militants who killed hundreds of people last year, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report on Monday.In the report themed “How Much More Blood Must Be Spilled?”, the rights group said at least 456 civilians were killed in 2019 and hundreds others wounded. The report said the year was the deadliest for civilians since the eruption of violence in 2012.“Armed groups are killing, maiming and terrorizing communities throughout central Mali with no apparent fear of being held to account,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch and author of the report.“The human toll in shattered lives is mounting as the deadly cycles of violence and revenge continue.”Since 2012, the conflict in Mali has claimed more than 1,000 military and civilian lives, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.Dufka said the militants continue to get bolder because of the lack of consequences for their actions, and that authorities should put a stop to their actions by apprehending and prosecuting them for their actions.“The Malian government’s failure to punish armed groups on all sides is emboldening them to commit further atrocities,” Dufka said.“The government, with the help of its international partners, needs to do much more to prosecute those responsible for crimes and dismantle abusive armed groups.”HRW acknowledged that the Malian government opened investigations and convicted about 45 people for communal violence, but said the powerful leaders of the armed groups are yet to be brought to book.Related Thirteen French troops killed in Mali operation against militants Mali army kills 50 militants and frees soldiers Islamic State group claims responsibility for Mali attack
A 40-year-old mother of two, who resides at Lot 436 Cowis Street, East La Penitence, Georgetown, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan to answer to charges of illegal possession of a firearm and possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking.It is alleged that on Friday, September 16, 2016, at Lot 4 Cowis Street, Alexis Phillips had in her possession 51.350 kilograms of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.Alexis PhillipsIt is further alleged that on the same day, Phillips had in her possession a .38 revolver and two matching rounds of ammunition without being the holder of a firearm licence.Phillips pleaded not guilty to the charges.Attorney Mark Waldron, who represented the defendant, made an application for disclosure of statements.The defendant was placed on remand. She will return to court on October 4, 2016 for report.