group, supposedly Whites. They could not receive visits from their families, doctors or lawyers, except
when the Ba’ath party supporters, all of them Beidanes, were in the same prison.
13. All these communications describe the events that took place in April 1989, simultaneously with
the crisis that nearly caused a war between Senegal and Mauritania. The crisis was caused by
Mauritania’s expulsion of almost 50,000 people to Senegal and Mali. The government claimed that
those expelled were Senegalese, while many of them were bearers of Mauritanian identity cards,
which were torn up by the authorities when they were arrested or expelled. Some of them seemed to
have been expelled mainly because of their relationship with the political prisoners or due to their
political activities. Many of those who were not expelled were on the run to escape the massacres.
Though the borders were later reopened, no security was assured those who desired to return, and
they had no means by which to prove their Mauritanian citizenship. Many had been living in refugee
camps since 1989, in extremely difficult conditions.
14. The main victims were Black Mauritanian government employees suspected of belonging to the
Black opposition, and Black villagers from the South, mainly from the Hal-Pulaar or Peul ethnic group.
The Haal-Pulaars traditionally live in the River Senegal valley where the land is fertile.
15. The complainants allege that thousands of people were arbitrarily detained. They state that the
detentions were followed by expulsion, such as in the case of political opponents, people who had
resisted the confiscation of their property, not to mention the cases that followed the incursions of
[returning] refugee groups. This last category of arrests seems to have been carried out as a
generalised reprisal, to the extent that there was no evidence of contacts between the detainees and
the refugees who were returning to Mauritania. This type of retaliation and reprisal is contrary to
Mauritanian law. Some of the detainees were released in early July 1990.
16. The communications allege also that there was daily persecution of villagers in the South
between 1989 and 1990. There were many identity-card checkpoints where the Hal-Pulaar had to
show their identity cards and prove that they were of Mauritanian origin. The security forces
confiscated their livestock. Sometimes the villagers had to obtain military authorisation to take out their
livestock to pasture, to go fishing or to work their fields. Nevertheless, such authorisation did not
protect them from arrest.
17. The security forces are accused of surrounding the villages, confiscating land and livestock
belonging to the Black Mauritanians and forcing the inhabitants to flee towards Senegal, leaving their
property for the Haratines to take or to be destroyed. The Haratines who possessed the land of those
who had been expelled were armed by the authorities and were expected to arrange their own
defence. So they formed their own militia, which had no foundation in law, but which seemed to work
in close collaboration or under the supervision of the army and internal security forces. Communication
96/93 provides a list of villages all or almost all of whose inhabitants were expelled to Senegal.
Communication 98/93 provides a list of villages that were destroyed.
18. These communications also point to various incidents and extra-judicial executions of Black
Mauritanians in the South of the country. Following the mass expulsions, some refugees in Senegal
carried out incursions into the villages inhabited by the Haratines. Generally, after these raids, the
Mauritanian army, the security forces and the Haratine militia would invade the villages reoccupied by
the original inhabitants, and identified victims, generally Hal-Pulaar. The communications mention
many cases of summary executions. On 10 and 20 April, for instance, military and Haratine patrols
arrested 22 people. They were later found dead, with their arms tied up. Some of them had been shot,
others had their skulls smashed with stones. On 7 May 1990, Dia Bocar Hamadi, for example, was
killed while he was searching for livestock taken from him by Haratines. When his brothers protested
to the police, they were arrested and detained until early July. On 12 April 1990, Thierno Saibatou Bâ,
a religious leader, was shot dead, on his way to meet his pupils.
19. A curfew was imposed on all villages in the South. Anyone who broke it was shot at sight, even if
there was not proof that they were engaged in acts that endangered the lives of other inhabitants.
Communication 61/91 mentions a specific case where the victims were arrested, tied up, and taken to
a location where they were executed. According to the complainants, the army, security forces and
Haratines enjoy total impunity. Many villagers who were not expelled had to flee in order to escape the
massacres.

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