Posted On November 11, 2016 By In COUNTRIES, Mali, Photo gallery, VIDEO&PHOTO With 59 Views

Mali coup leader readies for trial over massacre

Bamako (AFP)


An army officer who led Mali’s 2012 coup against then president Amadou Toumani Toure will stand trial on November 30 for murder and collusion over the massacre of soldiers who opposed the takeover.
The coup headed by Amadou Sanogo toppled what had been heralded as one of west Africa’s most stable democracies and precipitated the fall of northern Mali to Al-Qaeda-linked groups until a French-led military operation forced them out.
The court said it would hear “the case of Amadou Sanogo and several others accused of kidnapping, murder and collusion.”
The trial would take place in Sikasso, southern Mali, AFP learnt late Friday.
After Sanogo and his military junta seized power in the largely desert nation in March 2012, several dozen paratroopers known as the “Red Berets” who had supported the ousted president were seized.
The regiment had mounted an unsuccessful counter-coup a month after Sanogo toppled Toure.
By December 2012, almost 30 of the missing soldiers’ bodies were found in ditches near Kati, a garrison town outside the capital Bamako, where Sanogo had set up his headquarters.
Sanogo was arrested in November 2013 after handing over power to a transitional regime in a deal brokered by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
If convicted, he could face the death penalty in line with Malian law.
Sanogo was referred for trial in December last year over the “Red Berets” affair, along with former defence minister Yamoussa Camara and former army chief Dahirou Dembele.
The head of an association for victims’ families told AFP they were glad to see Sanogo finally come to trial.
“We want to know what happened. We want to know how our fathers were taken away, how they ended up in a mass grave,” said Amadou Kante.
During their brief rule, Sanogo and his allies were also accused of violence against politicians, journalists and prominent members of civil society.

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