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Witnesses accuse Malian soldiers of torture and murder

This file photo shows a French army helicopter flying over a village between Gao and Bourem, northern Mali, on February 17, 2013.In northern Mali, the country's army frequently turns to torture and murder against people suspected of backing armed Islamist groups, according to doctors, Malian and French troops and an AFP journalist. The scale of the phenomenon is difficult to assess. Are such rights abuses the outcome of a deliberate counter-insurgency strategy in desert territory where people are more favourable to the Islamists than in the south, or is torture the work of a few hotheads?