Mali: Discovery of six soldiers’ bodies near Kati sparks need for initiation of proceedings regarding mutiny of 30 September 2013

Press release
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On 1 March 2014, a body bearing colonel insigna was discovered in the well of a villa located in Malibougou, near Kati. -The well -belonged to a member of military personnel close to General Sanogo. Earlier, on 23 February 2014, five corpses had been found and exhumed from two graves in Bemasso, less than 10km from Kati. These six bodies may be those of the missing soldiers who disappeared during a mutiny on 30 September. These discoveries makes it necessary to launch a judicial investigation immediately, following up on the complaint lodged on 29 November 2013 by FIDH and AMDH on behalf of the victims’ families.

After this discovery, the Malian authorities must initiate judicial proceedings on the 30 September mutiny case in order to meet the concerns of victims’ families on whose behalf FIDH and AMDH lodged a complaint on 29 November 2013, said Moctar Mariko, AMDH President.

On 1 March 2014, the investigating judge of the Court of First Instance of Commune III (Bamako district), with the assistance of forensic experts from the national gendarmerie’s judicial investigation service, proceeded to exhume the body of the soldier found in the well at the Malibougou property. The colonel insigna found on the body suggests that it could be that of Colonel Youssouf, who disappeared on the evening of 30 September 2013. The exhumation was ordered in the context of the “missing red berets” case, in which Issa Tangara, Amadou Haya Sanogo and other individuals are being prosecuted for murder and complicity to murder in respect of events on 30 April 2012.

On 23 February 2014, five corpses in army uniforms were found in two mass graves in Bemasso in the rural commune of Kambila, near Kati. Investigations were led by Judge Yaya Karembe. The victims had been brutalized, with their hands tied behind their backs and their eyes blindfolded.

On 30 September 2013, a mutiny occurred when about 20 soldiers from Soundiata Keïta camp, located near Kati, revolted against their superiors. The starting point was an attack staged earlier that day by Moussa Ba of the chief of staff, and aide-de-camp to Général Haya Sanogo, Colonel Diallo. The mutiny was led by former soldiers of General Haya Sanogo and was specifically directed against him. The rebels accused him of failing to fulfil his promises to increase wages and promote them. In the next few hours and days, six rebels disappeared and two found dead. Some of the mutineers were called and brought to General Sanogo to negotiate an arrangement while others were abducted.

On behalf of the victims of these deaths and disappearances, FIDH and AMDH joined the legal proceedings as civil parties on 28 November 2013. They have lodged a complaint with the investigating judge, Yaya Karambe, for illegal arrest and detention, and for murder preceded by acts of torture. The complaint explicitly targets General Sanogo, as well as Captain Christophe Dembele and Assistant Chief Fousseno Diarra, the responsibilities of whom have been raised by victims.

Since this time, FIDH, AMDH and victims’ families have been expecting the Prosecutor to initiate proceedings.

The delay in initiating proceedings is all the more regrettable because in cases of enforced disappearance, torture and killings, the risk of losing evidence is significant, and opportunities for shedding light on the fate of the missing soldiers decline, said Patrick Baudoin, FIDH Honorary President and lawyer for the victims.

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