Mali: Faction of AEEM Students Defies Transition Authorities

3 Min Read

A faction of the Association of Students and Pupils of Mali (AEEM) is challenging the ruling colonels’ authority. The AEEM was dissolved in a ministerial council meeting on March 13th, 2024, due to “numerous armed clashes between different factions within the association.”

However, the members of the association refuse to accept this dissolution. The national office is considering legal actions, while a more radical faction has formed a crisis cell. In a particularly vehement statement released on March 21, this cell calls for mobilization.

Its members are unafraid to appear on camera. The crisis cell of the Association of Students and Pupils of Mali (AEEM), representing the most radical faction of the student organization, “strongly condemns any attempt to silence the voice of students and pupils by depriving them of their freedom of association” and declares readiness to “defend the association at all costs.” “We are not afraid of reprisals, whether it be imprisonment, physical elimination, or any form of repression.”

The students invoke “fundamental freedoms” and the history of their organization: in 1991, it played a major role in the protest and overthrow of the military dictatorship of General Moussa Traoré—whose memory has been rehabilitated by the current ruling colonels. “We will never accept that a part of Mali’s democracy history is erased,” asserts these students, who also demand the “immediate and unconditional release” of their “fellow students and pupils currently detained.”

The national office of the AEEM favors legal action

Internal conflicts regularly occur between the various factions of the AEEM, one of which resulted in the death of a student in late February and subsequent arrests. Weapons and large sums of money have been found in AEEM premises on several occasions, with about fifteen members currently in prison, according to the association.

Addressing the transitional President, Colonel Assimi Goïta, the students take certain precautions: “We love our dear country Mali very much and we are proud of our Malian army.” Keywords that echo the sovereignist and military policies of the current regime. “But we say ‘no’ to any form of violence against our freedom of association”.


Share this Article