They are all State agents and kidnapped since several months. Among these three officials, two died according to gathered information. It is as part of a series of reports and documentaries on the situation in the north and center of the country, that Sahelien.com was able to meet the third hostage.
The Guiré brigade commander, Mamadou Diawara and the president of the Niono District Court, Soungalo Koné, kidnapped respectively in October and November 2017, are reported to have “died as a result of illness,” one of the kidnappers of the Katiba of Macina told our reporter.
After several attempts and with the help of a middle man, an appointment was made on January 25 with members of the group that is holding these Malian officials.
One of the conditions to meet them is that our correspondent agrees to be blindfolded during the trip. The place, either, was not revealed. After several hours of driving, the meeting point is a relatively forested area. An hour later, a pickup arrived with five men and the hostage Makan Doumbia on board. On the spot, they settled the latter and put behind him, a fabric of camouflage. Among the kidnappers, one who seems to be their leader spoke in Fulani language to our reporter in these terms: “do not ask more than three questions”.
Turbaned, white beard, weakened, Mr. Doumbia talks about his conditions of detention: “when they took me, I was afraid for my life. I thought I would not see days like today, but thank God, when they brought me, I was gradually reassured. It’s the movement that gave me the blanket I’m sitting on to protect me from the cold. Even under the blanket, I shiver because of the cold. I thank the movement for that. For many people, the prisoner has no right, but this is not the case here”.
And to appeal to his family: “I regret very much what happened to me, I did not wish my life like that. I’m telling my wives to have a lot of courage. It was in public service when I was captured. I tell my children to have a lot of courage especially the first three who are a little older to take care of their little brother”.
After the meeting, we sought news regarding the other hostages, namely the Guiré brigade commander, Mamadou Diawara, and the President of the Niono District Court, Soungalo Koné. “The three hostages were all held in the same place, but the other two died as a result of illness. The brigade commander of Guiré died two months ago and the judge of Niono a few days earlier (before the interview, ed)”, replied one of the members of the group without further details. At the end of the meeting, the middle man and our reporter (blindfolded) left, leaving them on the spot.
Contacted by Sahelien.com, the Ministry of Security says they have no information on the fate of these hostages. “We have no information on the fate of these hostages … and I just learned it from you”, said Mr. Sangho, communication officer at the Ministry of Security and Civil Protection.
In the center of the country, people who are likely or suspected to be close to the State, such as government officials or traditional authorities, are often victims of kidnapping and sometimes murder. Yesterday, two hostages of the NGO CARE International were released after a “coordinated air raid” between the Malian Armed Forces and the French Force Barkhane in the Dialloubé area (Mopti region), said the Malian Ministry of Defense in a statement.
From Nara to the Burkinabè border, operates the Katiba of Macina, a jihadist group mainly Fulani, created in January 2015 by Hamadoun Kouffa, a well-known preacher in the region. He claims the establishment of a caliphate in this part of Mali. This Katiba is affiliated to the Support Group for Islam and Muslims created by the merger, in March 2017, of Ansar Dine, AQIM in the Sahel, Al-Mourabitoune and Katiba of Macina.