Spooks ‘kidnap’ Mali politician: lawyer

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Ethnic Tuareg Malian soldiers, under the command of Col. El Hadj Ag Gamou, occupy a former petrol station in Gao.

Bamako - A political leader who supported the coup in Mali last year filed a complaint to the supreme court on Monday against the west African nation's intelligence agency for kidnap, his lawyer told AFP.

Oumar Mariko, a former student leader and doctor who stood for the presidency in 2007 and formed the Popular Movement of March 22 after the coup, said he had been “brutally” arrested last month and kept against his will for questioning.

“I have on behalf of my client Mr Mariko filed a complaint for kidnapping and abduction against the Malian intelligence service,” Me Mariam Diawarae told AFP.

Mariko's party, African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence (SADI), sent reporters Mariko's written account of being arrested by intelligence agents at the offices of an NGO he manages in Bamako.

“They hustled me into their car. Once inside, they put me in handcuffs and a hood,” Mariko said in the statement, adding that an employee of the NGO was also arrested.

“I arrived handcuffed and hooded at the state security headquarters. The minions of the SE (Securite d'Etat) led me into a room which they had cleared of mattresses and locked me in, still handcuffed, with instructions not to remove the hood... “ he said.

“I slept in that situation, in the company of mosquitoes in scorching heat in a room which had a foul stench of urine.

“The next day around noon, my captors removed my handcuffs and in the afternoon around 3:00 pm they put the hood back on me and (took me) by car to an office about 30 metres (100 feet) away,” he said.

Army captain Amadou Sanogo led a group of fellow mid-level officers to overthrow then-president Amadou Toumani Toure on March 22 last year, upending what had been considered one of west Africa's most stable democracies.

The coup precipitated the fall of northern Mali to Islamist militants linked to Al-Qaeda but a military intervention by French and African troops chased the rebels from the region's main cities.

Mariko said he was questioned about his dealings with the “Red Berets”, members of the Malian Army's former elite force who opposed the coup.

He also said he was questioned about his relationship with Islamists who controlled the north of Mali until they were driven out in January by a French-led military intervention.

It was not immediately clear how long he was alleging he was held before his release. - Sapa-AFP


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