The UN announced Thursday a UN peacekeeping mission formed police unit used "unauthorized and excessive force" on civilian protesters during demonstration that took place in Gao, Mali, in January.
The Jan. 27 violence erupted in Gao, northern Mali, when protesters gathered in front of the headquarters of the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Three people were killed and several others were injured when thousands of protesters tried to break into the UN mission's camp.
"The Inquiry determined that members of a MINUSMA Formed Police Unit used unauthorized and excessive force on civilian protesters during the demonstration, resulting in the death by gunfire of three protesters and the wounding of four others," said a statement released by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesperson. "The Inquiry also established that some protesters and organizers of the demonstration bear responsibility for the violence of the protest, which included Molotov cocktails, stone throwing and attempts to breach the perimeter of the Regional MINUSMA Headquarters in Gao."
The inquiry noted that MINUSMA security forces were left to face the protesters on their own in violation of the Status of Forces Agreement with the host country, said the statement.
In February, Ban appointed three experts to conduct an investigation into the violence. The independent inquiry wrapped up its probe and submitted the report Wednesday.
Ban condemned the excessive use of force as a violation of the MINUSMA directive on the use of force, saying he is committed to ensuring that the responsible individuals are held fully accountable for their actions and also ensuring justice for the victims and their families according to local customs and appropriate United Nations procedures.
"The Secretary-General encourages the Government of Mali to take the appropriate steps to prevent future such incidents," said the statement. "Communications, management and crisis procedures within MINUSMA will also be examined to prevent the recurrence of such acts."
MINUSMA was established in 2013 by a UN Security Council resolution to support the political process and carry out security- related stabilization tasks in Mali. The peacekeeping force comprises more than 9,800 military personnel and police as of the end of February.