The president of an organization defending the interests of the press in Mali on Tuesday April 11 questioned the ability of the junta to ensure the safety of the populations, after the mysterious disappearance of a journalist for a few days.
Aliou Touré, publication director of the newspaper The Democrat, disappeared last Thursday April 6 in Bamako after co-hosting a press conference to demand the release of his colleague Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, better known as Ras Bath, a well-known radio host. Mr. Touré reappeared on Monday evening, ” safe and sound “ according to the crisis unit formed by a collective which mobilized in its favour.
Mr. Touré appeared at a press conference on Tuesday, but the mystery of his disappearance remained. He contented himself with thanking those who had mobilized for him. The president of the Malian Press House, Bandiougou Danté, indicated that Mr. Touré had been “abducted – the word is not strong – by armed and hooded men”who took him in a vehicle to “a place hitherto unknown”.
“An accusing finger will be pointed at the state”
Mr. Danté said that nothing was known about who kidnapped him, “whether official or unofficial groups”. “Perpetrators must be sought out, recognized, and held accountable for their actions”, he demanded. But “Whoever is the author of this practice, an accusing finger will be pointed at the State which has the responsibility to protect us”he specified.
The fate of Mr. Touré testifies “of the failure of a transition which must secure us”. Aliou Touré replaced Ras Bath at the microphone of the program he hosted on Renouveau FM radio. Ras Bath was charged and imprisoned on March 13 after saying that former Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga, who died in custody a year ago under the junta, had been “murdered”. Discordant voices are now struggling to be heard in Mali.
The NGO Reporters Without Borders wrote in a report published last week that the exercise of the profession of journalist was constantly becoming more difficult in the Sahel, between the violence of jihadists and armed groups on the one hand, and the pressure exerted by authorities and military regimes on the other.