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U.S. forces conduct training alongside French forces in Gao, Mali, March 3, 2021. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali voiced concern Saturday, April 2, 2022, over reported violence against civilians, hours after the military said it killed over 200 terrorists in a weeklong raid in the country’s center.

U.S. forces conduct training alongside French forces in Gao, Mali, March 3, 2021. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali voiced concern Saturday, April 2, 2022, over reported violence against civilians, hours after the military said it killed over 200 terrorists in a weeklong raid in the country’s center. (Victoria Hadden/U.S. Air Force)

(Tribune News Service) — The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali voiced concern Saturday over reported violence against civilians, hours after the military said it killed over 200 terrorists in a weeklong raid in the country’s center.

Mali has intensified operations against armed groups with links to al-Qaida and the Islamic State in recent weeks, and the military has also boosted its capabilities with reported assistance by Russia’s Wagner Group.

The statement from the army chief of staff, released April 1, didn’t make clear which group was the target of the March 23-31 operation in the central Mali village of Moura that killed 203 militants. Another 51 terrorists were arrested, it said.

The fight against the Islamist militants in the West African nation has also raised concerns abroad about potential human rights violations by the military and Wagner Group. Last month, the government banned two French broadcasters after they reported on allegations of civilian deaths.

The U.N. and Human Rights Watch have independently launched investigations into the claims.

The U.N. mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, in a tweet Saturday said it’s “very concerned about the allegations of violence against civilians” following last month’s military operation.

Wagner deployed to Mali last year, according to French and U.S. officials, although Mali denies they’re in the country.

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