Family of seized Soumaila Cisse says Mali gov’t ‘moving too slow’
The family of a leading Malian opposition figure who was kidnapped days before the country’s parliamentary elections in late March says the government is “moving too slow” in securing his release.
Soumaila Cisse, the runner-up in a 2018 presidential election, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on March 25 in Mali’s restive Timbuktu region.
The 70-year-old’s son, Bocar Cisse, said it was more than five weeks after the kidnapping when the family was contacted by the committee set up to negotiate the politician’s release.
“They say they are negotiating, but when we ask them for more information they don’t tell us anything,” Bocar Cisse said. “We don’t know anything, we don’t know if he is dead or alive,” added the 40-year-old, speaking on behalf of his mother and three brothers.
“Everyone misses him; we are all lost.”
Two people kidnapped alongside Cisse – who were later released – said they had also not heard from the committee, which was appointed weeks after the abduction, according to documents seen by Al Jazeera.
Speaking from Ivory Coast, Bocar Cisse said his family last heard from this father on the afternoon of March 25 as his two car-convoy left the city of Niafunke, a stronghold for his Union for the Republic and Democracy party (URD), and which lies on the cusp of northern and central Mali.