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OPEN LETTER TO THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ACCREDITED IN THE REPUBLIC OF BENIN

April 18, 2021

Omar Arouna is a former Ambassador of Benin to the USA

Excellencies members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Benin,

It is with great interest and deep gratitude that we learned on Friday April 16, 2021, the
visit of members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Cotonou to personnel of the
Beninese army, wounded during the civil unrest of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, of April 2021 which
preceded the 2021 presidential election in the Republic of Benin. We salute and
congratulate you and the countries that you represent on behalf of the citizens of Benin
for your expression of concern, compassion, empathy and solidarity in these times of
great challenges for Benin. A friend in need is truly a friend and your friendship matters
to the Beninese.

It is filled with this same gratitude that we would like to respectfully urge and encourage
you, in a spirit of equity and justice, to also visit the localities of BANTÈ, DASSA SAVÈ,
TCHAOUROU, PARAKOU and all the other regions where civil demonstrators and
ordinary passers-by were injured and killed on April 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, 2021 during civil
unrest?

Your delegation could therefore form an independent opinion and a full understanding of
the bigger picture. Your members could engage directly with injured civilians and their
affected families; survey the scenes of the protest in order to assess the extent of the
violence of the repression carried out by the army on the direct order of Mr. Patrice Talon

as revealed to the international community by the Minister of Foreign Affairs during his
press conference of April 10, 2021 – and thus allow the family of the victim to be edified
and to mourn.

Excellencies, members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Benin, you are well aware
of the general socio-political context and the democratic decline in our country since 2016,
which led to the unfortunate post-electoral civil unrest of May 2019. It is this same situation
that is at the root cause of the civil unrest of April 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, 2021.

In this context, the only expression of democratic right for the Beninese citizen is and
remains civil disobedience to which the population spontaneously committed, — this in
the spirit of article 66 of the constitution of our country — during the recent events which
unfortunately led to clashes between the army and the demonstrators and to the death of
at least two people on the side of the civilian participants.

Ruffin Zomahoun is fa former Ambassador of Benin to Japan

Excellencies members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Benin, as you have already
taken the first step by visiting the wounded army personnel in Cotonou, with the hope that
you will take another step by visiting the wounded civilian populations in Bantè, Dassa,
Savè, Tchaourou, Parakou, we urge you in your noble approach to examine human rights
violations and the issue of Beninese political prisoners including Minister Reckya
Madougou, Madame Mounirath Garya Saka, Professor Joel Aivo, Messrs Alexandre
Hountondji, Joseph Tamegnon, Jules Amoussouga, Thibaut Ogou Elie Djenontin, Emile
Koudjo and countless other people who have been arrested or kidnapped without

justification and whose only crime is to defend their rights, freedom and democracy. But
also, and above all look into the ins and outs of the army shooting against the
demonstrators in May 2019 after the electoral crisis.

The free expression of the will of the people is one of the most fundamental principles
defining credible elections. You can therefore agree with us that the political and security
context in which the 2021 presidential elections took place did not allow for a credible
election.

Mr. Ruffin Zomahoun
Former Ambassador of Benin to Japan

Mr. Omar Arouna
Former Ambassador of Benin to the United States

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