anfom document

Dossier 16: Incidents de Sikasso
in ANFOM Affaires Politiques, Carton 2197

Notes © 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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Gouverneur du Soudan Français E. Louveau to Haut-Commissaire, Gouverneur-Général de l'AOF, n°765/C (Bamako-Koulouba, December 1, 1946)

This letter contains an analysis of the situation at Sikasso. While the population is quiet everywhere else, under the prodding of the CEFA of Bobo Dioulasso, a group has begun to agitate in Sikasso. They are attached to the RDA (Rassemblement Démocratique Africain) and are directed by a school teacher named Modibo Keita. He has nearly absolute authority over former soldiers, some of the government employees, and a good part of the population.

Keita opposes local chiefs and all French authority. His second-in-command is "le greffier de la Justice de Paix, Seydou Traoré"

The letter lists several examples of provocations. Keita's group has already named their own chiefs to replace the French chiefs. As a result, some of the l;esser African authorities no longer obey the chiefs recognized by the French.

When M. d'Arboussier of the RDA visited Sikasso, Keita mobilized a large group, including 200-300 armed men in formation, to meet him. He also collected about 60,000 francs for d'Arboussier, who lost his job when he began to speak out.

A group of French women asked to be evacuated or armed because they fear a massacre by Keita's forces. The local administrator, a man named Rocher, thought it would be sufficient to expel Keita, Traore and "le commis des PTT" (an unidentified postal worker who aided them) in order to restore order. The author also mentioned an incident in Bobo Dioulasso where there were men killed.

The author concluded that the agitation by the RDA began three weeks ago. The largest part of the blame belongs to the RDA, but the administrator, M. Rocher, is old-fashioned and tired after four years in the same post, so he is also partly to blame.

Député du Soudan Mamadou Konaté to Monsieur le Président du Conseil à Paris,
letter n°7414 (Paris, February 27, 1947)

This letter describes the arrest of Modibo Keita for writing a letter that was critical of the Freench administration.

"M. le President, comme vous avez dit dans votre discours du 21 Janvier, nous croyons en effet que la France a apporté dans les vastes territoires d'Outre-Mer, un message de liberté. C'est cette conviction qui a permis à Modibo Keita de dénoncer au nom de la population, ces abus dont la preuve est facile à faire. En effet, la loi du 6 Avril 1946 supprimant le travail forcé a été mal accueillie par les Chefs du canton de la région de Sikasso qui continuaient à prendre de force les femmes, les enfants et les biens des paysans. Ces opérations anti- républicaines s'effectuaient au vu et au su de l'Administrateur qui les trouvait normales malgré les droits et libertés reconnus aux peuples des territoires d'Outre-Mer par la Constitution."

Roughly translated, this says "Mr. President, as you said during your speech of January 21, we beleieve that France has brought a message of liberty to its enormous overseas territories. This belief led M. Modibo Keita to write, on behalf of the population, a letter condemning abuses that are easy to prove. The law of April 6, 1946 ended forced labor, the the chefs de canton in the reegion of Sikasso continue to take their peasants' women, children and goods by force. This anti-Republican activities occur within the full view and with the full knowledge of the local administrator, who made no effort to intervene."

The letter goes on to say that Keita got 6 months in prison for writing his letter.

Le Préfet de Police to Ministre de la FOM, n°459 (Paris, March 17, 1947)

This police report concerns Mamadou Keita. He was born on June 4, 1915 in Bamabo. His current address is 86, rue Vaneau à Paris (7è arrondissement). He is a teacher and the personal secretary to M. Mamadou Konaté, Député du Soudan. On February 11, 1947, Keita was sentenced to six months in prison by the Tribunal Correctional de Bamako for "outrage écrit à Magistrat administratif."

Haut-Commissaire, Gouverneur-Général de l'AOF to Ministre de FOM,
n°3400 AP/2 (Dakar, May 19, 1947)

On 3 Mai 1947, "la cour d'appel de l'AOF" sentenced Modibo Keita and Seydou Traore to 15 days in prison with reprieve.

Gouverneur du Soudan to Haut-Commissaire, Gouverneur-Général de l'AOF,
telegram n°888 (Koulouba, December 26, 1947)

An incident took place between Fily Dabo Sissoko and le Médecin-Capitaine Courapie, who mistook Sissoko for a "gardien campement" (campground attendant) and gave him an order. When the deputy refused to obey, the doctor grabbed him and a scuffle ensued. They both wound up on the ground, although there were no injuries.