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Burkina Faso: Civil society calls for release of Daouda Diallo abducted human rights defender

Daouda Diallo   -  
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Sophie Garcia/

Burkina Faso

A major coalition of West African NGOs on Sunday demanded the "immediate release" of Daouda Diallo, the Burkina Faso human rights defender abducted on Friday in Ouagadougou by men in plain clothes.

"Daouda Diallo was abducted by at least four unidentified men on Friday, December 1, 2023 at around 3:00 pm, in front of the passport department in Ouagadougou, where he had gone to renew his travel documents," said the Coalition citoyenne pour le Sahel in a statement, adding that it has had "no news" of him since, nor "any information on the reasons for the abduction".

The organization "demands the immediate and unconditional release of Dr Daouda Diallo, as well as guarantees of his physical and psychological integrity".

"The abduction of a leading activist in broad daylight outside the premises of a public service calls for an immediate response from the government", the coalition continues.

On Friday evening, the Collectif contre l'impunité et la stigmatisation des communautés (CISC), of which Mr. Diallo is Secretary General, had "strongly condemned" an "umpteenth arbitrary kidnapping" and demanded his "immediate and unconditional release".

Winner of the 2022 Martin Ennals Award - also known as the Nobel Prize for Human Rights Defenders - Daouda Diallo was one of a number of voices critical of Burkina Faso's ruling regime who had recently been "requisitioned" to take part in the fight against jihadism, according to Human Rights Watch.

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who came to power in a coup in September 2022, signed a one-year "general mobilization" decree in April, allowing "young people aged 18 and over" to be requisitioned if necessary to fight the jihadists whose attacks regularly plunge the country into mourning.

On Sunday, the Coalition citoyenne pour le Sahel said the decree "must not be used as a pretext to arbitrarily target and silence independent voices".

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