Amnesty International Report 1998 - Senegal
|Publication Date||1 January 1998|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1998 - Senegal, 1 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a9fbc.html [accessed 26 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
(This report covers the period January-December 1997)More than 120 alleged supporters of an armed separatist organization arrested in 1995 were still detained without trial. Most of them appeared to be prisoners of conscience. The army was responsible for "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions. Armed separatists in the Casamance region also committed human rights abuses, including deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians. Hopes that peace talks would start between the government and the armed separatist Mouvement des forces démocratiques de Casamance (mfdc), Democratic Forces of Casamance Movement, were quashed by the resumption in July of clashes between government forces and the mfdc More than 120 suspected mfdc sympathizers continued to be held without trial throughout the year. Most had been tortured during their first days of detention. They had been rounded up and arrested by the army from April 1995 onwards. Most of them appeared to be prisoners of conscience, arrested because they were members of the Diola community, and held without any evidence of individual responsibility for acts of violence (see Amnesty International Reports 1996 and 1997) Many people arrested in Casamance after the resumption of fighting in July were tortured and ill-treated by the security forces. A number of people were reported to have been burned with petrol-filled plastic bottles. One was allegedly forced to drink the blood of one of his friends who had been killed by soldiers and another, before being killed himself, was said to have been forced to eat his own lips after they had been cut off by a soldier. None of these allegations were investigated. Despite official promises, there was no sign of any readiness on the part of the authorities to put an end to the impunity of the security forces. Nine police officers and gendarmes charged in 1995 and 1996 with torturing prisoners remained at liberty, on provisional release, and none had been tried by the end of the year (see Amnesty International Reports 1996 and 1997) The army was responsible for "disappearances" and extrajudicial executions in Casamance. In response to the renewed fighting in July and the death of 25 soldiers in Mandina Mancaye, near Ziguinchor, in August, the army arrested scores of civilians suspected of supporting the separatist movement in various towns and villages. At least 30 of those arrested subsequently "disappeared". For example, on 24 August Edgar Diédhiou was arrested at a party in his village of Siganar Boulou, Department of Oussouye. He was tortured by soldiers, who broke his leg. He was then taken in a military vehicle in the direction of the National Training Centre for Agricultural Technicians in Ziguinchor and has not been seen since. On 25 August Edmond Sékou Sadio, a barman in Tilène, a district of Ziguinchor, was arrested by soldiers at his place of work in the presence of a number of witnesses. He then "disappeared". One of four members of the mfdc executive committee, Sarani Manga Badian, was arrested at his home on 24 August by a group of soldiers in front of his family and other witnesses. He then "disappeared". The majority of the "disappeared" were feared to have been killed and buried in communal graves not far from military camps such as those at Nyassia and near the airport at Ziguinchor. The mfdc was also responsible for human rights abuses, including deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians, some targeted because of their ethnic origin. During the night of 7 to 8 September, armed mfdc combatants burst into the youth hostel in the village of Djibanar, Department of Sédhiou, and killed nine young people. The victims included two young girls: Timinadya Diatta, aged six, and Nakéba Diatta, aged nine. In January Amnesty International delegates visited Senegal and met President Abdou Diouf, senior ministers and judicial and security officials. The delegates raised Amnesty International's concerns about the widespread use of torture and the apparent reluctance to investigate allegations of torture and bring those responsible to justice. The delegates also met the mfdc Secretary General, Father Diamacoune Senghor, in Ziguinchor, and expressed their concerns about abuses committed by the mfdc, including deliberate and arbitrary killings of civilians In May Amnesty International sent a memorandum asking the authorities to investigate allegations of torture and extrajudicial executions. It also called for the immediate and unconditional release of any prisoners of conscience detained in the context of the conflict in Casamance In September Amnesty International delegates visited Senegal to investigate human rights abuses committed by both parties in Casamance.
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