Mali: Aminata Dicko denounces Wagner, Assimi Goïta sees red

By Flore Monteau

Posted on Friday, 3 February 2023 17:36
Aminata Cheick Dicko, on screen, addressing the UN Security Council, 27 January 2023 ©UN Photo/Loey Felipe

On 27 January, before the UN Security Council, a Malian civil society representative denounced abuses committed by the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) and the Russian mercenaries in Mali. The head of Malian diplomacy, Abdoulaye Diop, was not pleased.

For or against Aminata Cheick Dicko? Since last week’s speech to the UN Security Council, she has become one of the enemies of the ruling junta in Mali. The vice-president of l’observatoire Kisal took advantage of her platform to call the Malian authorities to account over the country’s security situation. A move that has clearly annoyed Mali’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdoulaye Diop.

‘War crimes’

On 27 January, the Security Council met to discuss the future of The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Its members were studying a progress report by UN Secretary General António Guterres. He spoke of an “untenable situation” for the peacekeepers and did not rule out the withdrawal of these soldiers. Although alarming, it was not this statement that would make waves but rather the speech that followed it. After MINUSMA chief El-Ghassim Wane, it was Aminata Dicko’s turn to take the floor.

The face of this defender of Fulani communities appeared on the room’s blue screen.

Dressed in a green suit and large glasses, this representative of Malian civil society, known for having denounced a blunder by the Barkhane force in Bounti a year ago, considered the invitation a “privilege”, but above all “a great responsibility”. According to our sources, her intervention was proposed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and then endorsed by Japan, which is currently chairing the UN Security Council.

After deploring the terrorist attacks against Malian soldiers and civilians, Aminata Dicko took up a controversial subject. She said she was alarmed by the human rights violations committed by the Malian army. “The presence of Russian partners alongside the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) is far from making things easier,” she added, calling on the latter to disassociate themselves from Russian actions, “which could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity”.

Hidden agenda

These words aroused the ire of Abdoulaye Diop, who was in New York to represent Assimi Goïta’s junta. After recalling that “Mali does not have to justify its choice of partners”, the diplomacy chief added, scathingly, that he had discovered “with great surprise” the presence of a Malian delegate at this meeting.

“We were not informed of this,” he said. “We do not know this person […] Naturally we doubt her representativeness and credibility”. He concluded, in a serious tone: “The instrumentalisation of civil society for hidden agendas does not serve civil society.” An agenda which, according to him, would serve to divide the nation.

Since then, Internet users have seized on the debate. On Twitter, some have shown their support for Aminata Dicko’s courage, sometimes attributing to her false statements against the Malian regime, while others have denounced her as a traitor manipulated to the benefit of the West.

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