BENIN - Between denunciations of "abuses" and restrictions on freedoms Spécial

© Presidency of Benin © Presidency of Benin

Source : Sahel weather

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Reckya Madougou, a political opponent in Benin sentenced to twenty years in prison for "terrorism" in 2021, expresses her strong disagreement with her conditions of detention in a letter released recently. She denounces "illegal and ferocious" treatment in prison, claiming that she is prevented from contacting her children and her GP, even in critical situations. She addresses her reproaches to the director of the prison agency, expressing her wish that no one should suffer the same treatment in future. 

At the same time, Beninese President Patrice Talon dismissed his special advisor and friend Johannes Dagnon, prompting questions about the reasons for his sudden departure. Johannes Dagnon had been considered number two in the Presidency since 2016, and played a central role in implementing President Talon's action program. His dismissal, with immediate effect, may come as a surprise given that he was not only close to the President but also an influential member of his entourage.

In addition, the appointment of Pamphile Zomahoun as Benin's special envoy to Haiti, as part of a voluntary commitment to provide troops for a multinational security support force, was seen as a significant initiative in the country's foreign policy. The decision reflects Benin's commitment to regional and international security, while strengthening its relations with other countries and organizations. However, the appointment could also mean a possible departure from the presidential race for this close friend of the president. A deliberate strategy on Talon's part? 

Tensions surrounding police controls, including mandatory helmet wearing, have also drawn attention to issues of security and respect for human rights. Videos showing acts of police brutality have triggered demonstrations and debates on the need for police reform to guarantee respect for individual freedoms.

Benin is also facing an increase in terrorist attacks, particularly in the north of the country. These are said to be the result of infiltration by terrorist groups linked to al-Qaeda, seeking to extend their influence beyond the central Sahel, as in the attack on a customs post in Malanville, which left three people dead and one seriously injured. In response to this growing threat, the European Union has announced the release of 47 million euros to support the fight against terrorism in Benin.

Despite these security challenges, the country is also looking to strengthen its trade ties, particularly with China. The second edition of the Benin-China Investment Forum, accompanied by a conference promoting the China International Import Exhibition, was held in Cotonou.