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In Mali, the government denounced Saturday evening a demonstration of armed police officers the day before. Members of the security forces have freed the head of the Special Anti-Terrorist Forces “under pressure”, imprisoned for his alleged role in the bloody repression of the protest in the summer of 2020.
An act “condemnable” for the government of Mali. The Malian interim power denounced, Saturday, September 4 in the evening, a demonstration by armed police the day before, which resulted in the release of a police official imprisoned for his alleged role in the bloody repression of the protest against the summer 2020.
Men in uniform and armed took to the streets to demonstrate “which is a” condemnable act “, commented a statement read on public television.” The government asks everyone to be reassured, “the statement continued, assuring that the fight against impunity continued.
Earlier in the day, under pressure from his colleagues, the head of the Special Counterterrorism Forces, Divisional Commissioner Oumar Samaké, was released. He became on Friday the first personality to be detained as part of the investigation into the repression in July 2020 of the protest movement under the presidency of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, since overthrown by the military.
But Oumar Samaké spent only a few hours in detention in Bamako and was released in unclear conditions after a number of police officers marched on his prison.
Released “for the sake of peace”
A prison supervisor, Yacouba Touré, told AFP on Friday that the police had “come in large numbers well armed” to the central detention center in Bamako. “We did not resist, they left with Ousmane Samaké without incident”.
An official from the Ministry of Justice told AFP on condition of anonymity that, “for the sake of peace”, the authorities had decided to have him released, without the police entering the prison.
The Synergy of the Trade Union Sections of Prison Supervisors in Mali referred to “disastrous events” and called on the authorities to “take their responsibilities to avoid an unfortunate situation”.
Malian Association for Human Rights “indignant”
The Malian Human Rights Association (AMDH) in Mali has said it is “deeply indignant at the release under pressure” of Oumar Samaké and “vehemently condemns” this “serious attack on democracy and the State by right”.
She says she is “scandalized” that “the police, who must enforce the law” acted “illegally to obtain the release of a person imprisoned following a court decision” and “denounces this obstruction of the work of justice by law enforcement officers “.
“AMDH fears that this situation will undermine ongoing efforts in the fight against impunity.”
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On July 10, 2020, after weeks of mobilization against President Keïta, a demonstration had degenerated into several days of unrest in Bamako. The opposition had reported 23 dead, and the UN 14 protesters, including two children, killed during the crackdown.
AFP journalists had seen hooded men dressed in black, automatic weapons in hand in the backs of pick-ups in the streets of Bamako, without any distinctive mark. They had been commonly identified as members of the counterterrorism forces. Their employment in law enforcement duties had aroused indignation.
Friday’s events are a reminder of how sensitive these investigations are and how volatile the situation remains in Mali, caught in the security and political turmoil since 2012.