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Human Rights Watch: Mali's Army Killing Civilians In Town Of Niono

Malian soldiers sit in a pick up on their way to Niono, 340km north from Bamako, on January 18, 2013 in Markala. France confi
Malian soldiers sit in a pick up on their way to Niono, 340km north from Bamako, on January 18, 2013 in Markala. France confirmed today that Malian troops had taken control of the key central town of Konna from armed Islamists who seized the country's vast desert north in April last year.AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

DAKAR, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Human Rights Watch said on Saturday it had received credible reports of serious abuses, including killings, being committed by Malian security forces against civilians around the central town of Niono.

"We urge the Malian authorities, as well as the French and (West African) soldiers/authorities to do their utmost to ensure the protection of all civilians," the New York-based group said in a statement.

HRW said that Tuaregs and Arabs, ethnic groups most associated with rebels who have controlled Mali's north, were being especially targeted.

Mali's army was not immediately available for comment.

France called on Saturday for other world powers to commit money and logistical support for African armies readying their troops to join French soldiers already battling al Qaeda-linked militants in Mali. (Reporting by David Lewis; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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