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Please don’t take this the wrong way, but… who gives a [bleep]?

The UN anti-genocide envoy says he is “deeply disturbed” by reports of reprisal attacks by Malian troops as they retake control of the north.

Such widespread and systematic abuses could “constitute atrocity crimes”, Adama Dieng said in a statement.

The military is suspected of recruiting and arming proxy militia groups to kill Arabs and ethnic Tuaregs, he added.

Reports have suggested that Malian soldiers, drawn largely from the south, are targeting Arab and ethnic Tuareg civilians in frontline towns.

Mr Dieng, the UN’s special adviser on the prevention of genocide, said the allegations included summary killings and disappearances in Sevare, Mopti, Niono and other towns close to the areas where fighting was occurring.

There had also been reports of mob lynching and looting of properties belonging to Arab and Tuareg communities, he added.

“While the liberation of towns once under the control of the rebel and extremist groups has brought hope to the populations of northern Mali, I am deeply concerned at the risk of reprisal attacks against ethnic Tuareg and Arab civilians,” Mr Dieng said.

“Targeting of ethnic or religious groups in an armed conflict, and if such abuses are carried out in a widespread and systematic way, could constitute atrocity crimes.”

First of all, I am happy to learn that the UN opposes genocide, evidence to the contrary and all. They’ve even got an expert on the subject.

I guess that also means they’ve got it defined, unlike “terrorism”, which they can’t quite pin down.

But if Mr. Dieng wants to find me a conflict that doesn’t involve reprisals against the innocent who happen to be on the wrong side, I would be pleased to hear about it.

Dum-di-dum…da-da-da-di-dum. Well, get back to me.

Mr Dieng said the Malian army had a responsibility to “protect all populations, irrespective of their race or ethnicity”.

Right. Sure they do. And they have a responsibility to floss between meals. The day that Malian forces of one side (or the other) are not massacring their opposition will be news. Print that when it happens.

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