The Malian Convergence Against Landgrabbing
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Urgent: Three peasants were killed by the security forces in Mali, eight others are in prison – in the village of Zémésso, in the Cercle de San, a community belonging to the UACDDDD/NOVOX (Union of Associations and Coordination of Associations for the Development and Defence of the Rights of the Destitute) and to the CMAT (the Malian Convergence Against Landgrabbing).
Since 2011, there has been a terrible conflict over land ownership in seven villages in the Cercle de San in Mali. Activists from the UACDDDD/CMAT have approached every branch of the administrative and judicial systems, in an effort to avert a worsening of the conflict that would result in an incident of this kind.
In 2014, the Malian government made recommendations for ending the conflict. However, their recommendations were not put into effect by the local adminstrative authorities.
Now the peasants have become the victims of an act of criminal violence with which the local authorities are complicit.
On December 11th, 2017, a peasant from the village of Zémésso was killed in cold blood during a police operation aimed at preventing the peasants from harvesting their rice fields. 73-year-old Gaoussou Diarra was killed while he was engaged in an effort to calm the situation; others were injured.
Five days later, Yacouba Yerenè died after being beaten by the police; there were also eight arrests.
Notwithstanding, the peasants were in the right. In 2016, the Administrative Tribunal had annulled the allocation of the land to the Police Commissioner; it had also condemned the Commissioner for abuse of power.
The San administrative authorities are nevertheless determined to use every possible means to stop the peasants harvesting their rice fields.
We can state at this time that it is the Prosecutor and the Police Commissioner in San who bear the responsibility for these acts of violence.
There was one death in 2011, and two peasants have died in 2017. How many deaths and how many human rights violations have to happen before the peasants can go to work in their fields without fear or anger?
How many police blunders before the situation really explodes and sets the country on fire?
We demand that light be shed on this barbaric incident. We insist that autopsies be carried out, and that the guilty parties and their accomplices be punished in accordance with the law.
We express our condolences to the families of the deceased, and we wish continued strength to all of the surviving victims, particularly those who have been injured.
Spokesperson for NO-VOX Africa
Spokesperson for the Malian Convergence Against Landgrabbing (CMAT)
CP of the Land and Water West Africa Convergence
Spokesperson for the West Africa Caravan