Several weeks after a report by Human Rights Watch highlighted details of sexual abuse suffered by at least three under 18 female basketball players at the hands of the head coach Amadou Bamba, Malian authorities announced arresting Bamba.
Mali girls’ basketball coach Amadou Bamba indicted for sexual assault https://t.co/mWkmYaMcYL— Nigeria Presidency News (@mypresidency) July 30, 2021
According to families of three underage female basketball players from Mali, Bamba has been sexually harassing and assaulting players for Mali's Under-18 girls’ national team since he became the head coach in 2016.
The allegations described as "serious" by Human Rights Watch included anecdotes of 51-years old Amadou Bamba attempting to have sex with players during international trips. According to at least three girls who have reported his assault, Bamba would ask for sexual acts over the phone or while he visits players' hotel rooms after midnight.
Last June, HRW accused Malian authorities of ignoring sexual assault reports and called on the Mali Basketball Federation to start a serious and thorough investigation that ensures justice and protection for female players. The international NGO has also reportedly pressured the International Basketball Federation known as FIBA to ask Malian authorities for more prompt action.
#FIBA President Hamane Niang is from #Mali, and has just been suspended, with coaches accused of abuses including “sextortion”— Minky Worden (@MinkysHighjinks) June 14, 2021
Courageous U-19 female players reported to #Basketball federation they were kicked off Natl team for refusing coach’s advances…https://t.co/3Jxz68E7vb pic.twitter.com/2DrP8V2C7w
In response, FIBA's president Hamane Niang, a Malian national, announced stepping aside to allow an investigation into allegations of systemic sexual harassment within the Mali Basketball Federation.
On the 27th of July, the Mali Basketball Federation announced the suspension and arrest of Bamba, who now faces three charges of pedophilia, attempted rape, and molestation.
Following the news, HRW welcomed authorities' decision to prosecute Bamba and called for reforms that ensure better protection for women playing basketball in Mali, especially as the sport is considered amongst the most popular ones in the country.
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