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UA 111/91 - Mali: extrajudicial execution / legal concern: Bintou Maiga, Brehima Beridiogo and over 20 others arrested and over 150 people killed

, Index number: AFR 37/003/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AFR 37/03/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 111/91 Extrajudicial Executions/Legal Concern 25 March 1991
MALI: Bintou Maïga (f), court clerk
Bréhima Béridiogo, sociology lecturer at the Ecole normale
supérieure, teachers training college
both leading officials of the Comité national d'initiative
démocratique (CNID), National Committee of Democratic
Initiative
and over 20 others arrested and over 150 people killed
Over 150 people, including children, have been killed by the security forces
during pro-democracy demonstrations and rioting which started in Bamako, the
capital, on 22 March 1991. Many of those killed are said to have been shot
in the back. Others were killed by the indiscriminate shooting of civilians
on the streets. Amnesty International is calling on the Malian authorities
to halt the killings immediately and to stop the army using lethal force against
unarmed civilians where lives are not threatened.
On 22 March 1991 at least 40 people were killed when a student
demonstration was blocked by the security forces and erupted into rioting,
with government and commercial buildings being attacked and burned. The
government immediately declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew.
On 23 March at least another 40 people were killed. Some were shot dead when
thousands of women, protesting against the killings, tried to march on the
President's residence at Koulouba in Bamako and were fired upon by the security
forces. As many as 65 people were reported to have been burned to death when
the security forces set fire with flame-throwers to a shopping and business
centre where protestors had taken refuge. On 24 March mourners burying the
dead at two cemeteries in Bamako were shot at by soldiers. The same day, the
government met opposition leaders and agreed to demands to lift the state of
emergency, free political prisoners and withdraw troops from the streets.
On 25 March a general strike went ahead with opposition demands for President
Moussa Traoré to resign, for the dissolution of the National Assembly and for
the formation of a Comité de salut public, People's Salvation Committee, to
act as a transitional government. Continuing unrest was reported in at least
three districts of Bamako.
It has been estimated that some 150 people have been killed by the security
forces and a number of police officers and soldiers killed by rioters.
According to the authorities, only 34 people have died. Information about
events outside Bamako has been difficult to obtain but there have been
demonstrations in other towns and deaths were reported from Koulikoro on 24
March.
Two leading members of a leading pro-democracy organization, the Comité
national d'initiative démocratique (CNID), National Committee of Democratic
Initiative, were arrested at their homes on 23 March 1991. Bintou Maïga,
a court clerk, and Bréhima Béridiogo, a sociology lecturer at the Ecole normale
supérieure, teachers training college, in Bamako, were reportedly still held
without charge on 25 March. At least 20 others are reported to have been
detained.
General Moussa Traoré has ruled Mali since seizing power in a coup in
2
1968. A number of large and peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations took place
in late 1990. On 8 January 1991, General Sékou Ly, noted for the severity
with which he suppressed strikes by students and teachers in 1979 and 1980,
was brought back to head the Interior Ministry. On 18 January he ordered
pro-democracy organizations to halt all political activity and, in
demonstrations and riots in the next few days, at least five people were
reportedly killed by the security forces. Some 140 people, mostly children
and young people, were detained without charge or trial for 10 days and many,
including children under 12 years of age, were tortured or ill-treated (see
UA 32/91, AFR 37/01/91, 29 January, and AFR 37/02/91, 18 March). A number
of students are reported to have been killed in student demonstrations in other
parts of the country, in Sikasso and Samé near Kayes.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at reports that over 150 people have been killed and over
20 people detained by the security forces since 22 March 1991;
- calling on the Malian authorities to halt the killings immediately and to
issue orders to the army that lethal force may not be used against civilians
unless the civilians themselves are using or threatening to use violence which
may result in loss of life;
- urging that an immediate, independent and open inquiry into the killings
be instituted to establish whether the killings were lawful and whether they
could have been avoided;
- appealing for the release of prisoners of conscience - those held for the
non-violent expression of their political views - and for the immediate release
of any detainees who are not to be charged promptly with a recognizably criminal
offence and formally remanded in custody;
- urging that all detainees be safeguarded from torture or ill-treatment, held
in accordance with international standards on conditions of imprisonment and
given immediate access to their families and lawyers.
APPEALS TO:
Son Excellence
Monsieur le Général Moussa Traoré
Président de la République
La Présidence
B.P. 1463
Bamako, Mali
Telegrams: President, Bamako, Mali
Faxes: +223 22 3980
Telexes: 2521 PREMALI MJ
Monsieur le Général Sékou Ly
Ministre de l'Intérieur
Ministère de l'Intérieur
Bamako, Mali
Telegrams: Ministre Interieur, Bamako, Mali
Monsieur le Général Mamadou Coulibaly
Ministre de la Défense nationale
Ministère de la Défense nationale
B.P. 215
Bamako, Mali
Telegrams: Ministre Defense, Bamako, Mali
Monsieur le Lieutenant-Colonel Sambou Soumaré
3
Ministre de la Justice et Garde des Sceaux
Ministère de la Justice
B.P. 97
Bamako, Mali
Telegrams: Ministre Justice, Bamako, Mali
COPIES TO:
Son Excellence Monsieur le Docteur N'Golo Traoré
Ministre des Affaires étrangères
Ministère des Affaires étrangères
Koulouba
Bamako, Mali
Faxes: +223 22 5226
- Les Echos, BP 2043, Bamako, Mali
- Aurore, BP 3150, Bamako, Mali
- L'Essor, BP 141, Bamako, Mali
- Le Cafard Libéré, BP 7292, Dakar, Senegal
and to diplomatic representatives of Mali in your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 6 May 1991.

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