Mali: Union alleges intimidation and arrests of activists and leaders

Activists, leaders and members of the Union des Associations et des Coordinations d’Associations pour le Développement et la Défense des Droits des Démunis ( UACDDDD) in Bamako Mali are facing intimidation and arrests for resisting land grabs and persecution of local communities. The statement from the Union, produced below, seek urgent attention and solidarity actions from the International civil society.

Forum social mondial de Dakar. Marche d’ouverture du forum.

Since 9 October 2020, Sidi Touré (also known as Old Sidi), a victim of land expropriation, has been arrested and placed under a detention order at the Bamako prison by the investigating judge of the High Court of Commune VI of the District of Bamako. Similarly on 28 October 2020 for Drissa Sangaré, a member of the UACDDDD, also by the same judge.

As a reminder, old Sidi Touré born in 1946 in Diré in the Timbuktu region, and is a member of the UACDDDD (commonly known as the Union) since 2005.

He has been living in the Faladiè Sokoro district, commune VI of Bamako, since 1977 on his plot of land which he obtained from the Touré family, landowners. Old Sidi could not afford to pay the regularisation fees, but he was registered with his family book and a survey number. The Touré family even issued him with a certificate of ownership legalized at the Commune VI town hall under plot N° K/16.

In 2017, 41 years later, a third person, Mountaga Traoré, owner of a real estate agency, presented himself with a notification from the Bamako District Town Hall of the same plot. Following several judicial harassment for eviction by the real estate agency owner, the latter’s decision was annulled by the Administrative Court of Mali, judgment No. 545. In addition, Mountaga Traoré’s application was dismissed by the judgement N°3534/2019. In execution of the decision of the Administrative Court, the Bamako District Council regularised the Old Sidi Touré on his plot.

Despite the fact that Sidi Touré has its title deed, confirmed by the decision of the Administrative Court, the rich real estate agency owner turned to the High Court of Commune VI of Bamako. To everyone’s surprise, Old Sidi was arrested and placed under a committal order at the Bamako prison by the examining magistrate on 9 October 2020, but on what grounds? How many more arrests? How far will they go? Up to the Secretary General of the UACDDDD, spokesperson of the CMAT and CGLTE OA, Massa KONE, involved in the defence of the case and who, moreover, has already been robbed and threatened at home by armed men, barely 4 months ago?

In order to stop this escalation, which is an attack on the most fundamental rights, we appeal to all human rights organisations, to national and international opinion and to all justice-loving people for the release of those arrested and the defence and protection of our Comrade Massa Koné and all the members of the UACDDDD who work every day for the land rights of the most impoverished.

Done in Bamako, 28 October 2020

The President