The French media provided little information, and if we are to believe the daily Le Monde, largely relaying on information provided by AFP « inter-communal violence has killed at least three people in Djibouti. » The mentioned article posted on August 3 and illustrated by a photo showing a poster of President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, focuses primarily on government’s statement. It in fact, refers to statements by the Minister of the Interior Said Nouh Hassan and the prosecutor of Djibouti, Lamisse Mohamed Saïd who has already distinguished himself by requesting with great zeal extradition of Mohamed Kadamy, a political refugee in France since 2006.
Being a journalist in Djibouti is almost impossible. Djibouti is ranked 176th in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index, ahead of only China, Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Eritrea. According to Reporters Without Borders « The repressive arsenal deployed against journalists in Djibouti is causing real media terror. Private or independent media do not exist and the only existing » media « are used for propaganda purposes by the government of Ismail Omar Guelleh. » One can question under these conditions the objectivity of report by the AFP’s representative in the country.
But, even if communications by phone or internet with Djibouti have become very difficult, many publications are available on social media networks. They expose and denounce the action of government forces alongside pseudo-rioters directing violence against the Afar community. More of the Djibouti opposition representatives should have been contacted to have another vision of the unfolding events. This would be a massacre organized by the State, carried out by the Police, on August 1 and 2, and the toll is heavy according to the Djiboutian League of Human Rights: 9 deaths by bullets, around 20 missing and 120 injured including 15 in serious condition. Two hundred and fifty homes were set on fire by plainclothes police in Walabaler, PK 12 and Balbala. Many families have since been homeless and deprived of everything, sleeping in the rain and without any assistance.
According to lawyer Mohamed Abayazid, « the police failed in their law enforcement mission taking sides in this tragedy. »
It should be remembered that in 1994, the media showed persistent blindness by persistently evoking interethnic clashes in Rwanda, adopting the official position of the French government. Will we have to wait for commissions of inquiry 20 years later to find out what is currently happening in Djibouti? The situation is serious, men, women and children are being murdered. We are awaiting objective information from the media and an immediate position taken by the French government.
translated from French by Ali Badiré