Freedom was regained after Niono’s agreement

This week, the RFI offers you a series of four reports on the unprecedented ceasefire agreement reached on March 14 over a one-month period between the jihadists in Katiba Macina, linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Dozo fighters who met they try to protect certain villages, especially Farabougou, in the district of Nionos (region Ségou). The Malian state, which mandated the negotiators, still has to comment at the end of the week on a specific point in this agreement.

From our special correspondent,

The ceasefire agreement reached in the Niono circle is an oral agreement, nothing has been signed. But the words of Dozo hunters and jihadists in front of mediators of the High Islamic Council of Mali were immediately followed by effects.

“We are happy to see it and say it: we really feel the change,” exclaims Dramane Simbara, mayor of Sokolo, a rural municipality whose residents have not dared to leave for nearly six months due to jihadist attacks. . People are freer to go about their business: go to the fields, go to their businesses, travel from village to village, that is, all journeys. Overnight, things changed in a positive direction. Really good. “All the more important is the freedom of movement because the period coincides with the harvest.

During the hours following the agreement, the ten prisoners – Dozo hunters and ordinary residents – held by Katiba Macina’s jihadists were released. They came from different communities, including Fulani. Important precision, because Fulani is often the subject of mergers with jihadists and is a regular victim of stigma and abuse. The Dozo hunters were also able to recover their own bodies, killed during clashes and who could finally be buried.

At the end of hostilities and the return to calm, Sékou Bah can also attest to this. He is the mayor of the rural municipality of Nampaladont, the inhabitants feared above all the violence of Dozos hunters and the atrocities committed on the shepherds of the Fulani community.

“We felt a clear improvement. What is most striking is that just yesterday the weekly fair was held in Nampala. There were vehicles from Dogofry and passengers from Nampala to Niono could pass through Dogofry. It had been four months since that had happened, neither one nor the other! Since the agreement was signed, popular movements and their property have become a reality in the area, we even see a revitalization of the economy due to the presence at fairs and the movement of animals and animals. Freight transport vehicles ”, welcomes Sékou Bah.

Before the High Islamic Council began its negotiations with the jihadists from Katiba Macina, Dramane Simbara, Sékou Bah and other local elected officials were already involved in a dialogue between the municipalities. Since Niono’s deal was found, they see their mission a little differently.

“Nothing beats peace,” said Sékou Bah, the mayor of Nampala. And Niono is a top-class agropastoral zone in the Ségou region, its activities can only flourish in peace and security. Our role will be to implement large-scale awareness measures. To be able to provide the content of this agreement so that its implementation is real and that the population takes ownership of it. ”

The last consequence of this agreement: the first internally displaced persons, who had fled their villages, began to return to their homes. But still very modest.


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