protest tegen landgrabbing in Sanamadoug/Sahou in Mali

18.04.2016: Protest of the two villages Sanamadougou and Sahou (Mali) against landgrabbing +++ The responsible investor has received loans from – among others – the African Development Bank +++ The German government was in this and other cases misled with explicit false information +++


Landgrabbing is one of the most controversial topics of the Malian politics. But the case of the two villages Sanamadougou and Sahou in the Office du Niger is probably one of the most scandalous ones: Since 2010 the Malian investor Modibo Keita has appropriated a bigger part of the agricultural land of the two villages. Officially Modibo Keita has concluded a contract with the Malian state over the land. But the land, which is only roughly outlined in the contract does obviously not comprise the land of Sanamadougou and Sahou (which among other things becomes clear on the basis of the irrigation canal mentioned in the contract).

Despite these evident contradictions the African Development Bank has granted Modibo Keita a loan of 16,8 million euro in september 2014. It is remarkable that it was one of the credit covenants that no juridicial procedures are pending concerning Sanamadougou and Sahou and that the families affected had received compensation (the German government has played a central role concerning the conclusion of these terms.) Modibo Keita has confirmed both, but both is not correct as Afrique-Europe-Interact could demonstrate together with the villagers. Because the fact is that a trial, which started in february 2012 is interrupted since the end of 2012 – although the court has ordered on 20th of december 2012 by decision that an assessor shall be appointed for the clarification of the matter. In addition money was payed only to single persons, but not to the respective heads of the households; therefore no deeds of assignment concerning the land are available.

Sanamadougou and Sahou have in the past years again and again caused a sensation nationally and internationally. Not only did the renowned Oakland-Institute in the US present the case in a report on landgrabbing in Mali, there is also a long report from the human rights organisation FIAN International. In Mali the case was controversially discussed in parliament on the 2nd of july 2015; inaddition the farmers affected have written countless letters and have conducted numerous actions. However, nothing has happened until today.

It is against this background that this morning (18th of april 2016) the two villages have started with a field occupation right next to Sahou – claiming the immediate restitution of the complete land before the beginning of the harvest season 2016/2017. They are supported on the one hand by several neighboring villages from the region Sansanding as well as the peasant grass-root union COPON (Coordination of the farmers in the Office du Niger). On the other hand the transnational network Afrique-Europe-Interact is actively supporting the protests, accordingly about 40 activists from Bamako are on site together with numerous media representatives. Furthermore, Afrique-Europe-Interact has written an open letter to the Malian president, the African Development bank and the German government. In this letter the central information is documented in summary – including the mentioned court decision of 20th of december 2012. The letter is available in three languages:


Afrique-Europe-Interact calls upon the international public to seek exchange with the Malian authorities and the African Development Bank. Because it should not be that on the one hand Europe demands the struggle against the causes of flight and on the other hand several thousands of farmers in villages like Sanamadougou and Sahou are dispossessed of their means of existence (while the German government has been misled with verifiable false information). In this context we explicitly want to point at another case of landgrabbing in the region Siengo Extension, concerning which Afrique-Europe-Interact has also written an extensive statement to the German and Malian authorities. Because Siengo Extension is also therefore juicy, because here corrupt appropriation of land by governmental officials has taken place in a project financed with means of the German development cooperation. The correspondent letters in German and French are available on the website of the network as well.


Due to the war in the north it was not possible to do the protest last year. A sit-in was planned in june 2015. Here is the background:

Today 16th of june 2015 protests against landgrabbing in the Malian Office du Niger region will take place in the two villages of Sanamadougou and Sahou. More precisely, the peasants in question are organising a sit-in near Sahou in front of the farm business of Modibo Keita who arranged to be ‘offered’ the land by the Malian government. About 50 activists of the Bamako section of Afrique-Europe Interact already arrived yesterday in Sahou – together with several journalists. In addition, 100 members of the COPON (the farmers union at the Office du Niger initiated by Afrique-Europe-Interact) will participate too.

Generally we can say that the preperation for this action were not easy, but at the same time it is a great success that all the villagers, the activists of Africa-Europe Interact and COPON decided to make this action (one day before the start of Lent). More info on Transnational Resistance against Land Grabbing in Mali / Renewed Protests by the Inhabitants of Sanamadougou and Sahou (pdf 10.2 KB) and The Connection between Urban and Rural Areas.
Afrique-Europe Interact supports the sit-in also financially. Our collection through Crowdfunding will continue until the end of June:

2nd of june 2015 | Solidarity ralley for Sanamadougou and Sahou in Berlin

Video “Journée de réflexion Saou et Sanamadougou 2015”:

presentatie Strijd tegen landroof in Mali door Bakary Mamatou Traoré, boer en vakbondsactivist uit Office du Niger (13 april 2015 te Amsterdam)