'Mali displaced too scared to return'

2013-02-22 18:40

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Geneva - Tens of thousands of people who fled northern Mali are too scared to return despite the French-led military intervention to root out Islamist militia there, the Red Cross said on Friday.

"There has not been a wave of returns, ... and I don't think there will be a wave of returnees any time soon," said Jean-Nicolas Marti, who heads the International Committee of the Red Cross' mission in Mali and Niger.

He said the continued unrest was discouraging many would-be returnees.

"There is also fear among some based on their ethnic identities of possible acts of retaliation by the Malian armed forces," Marti said, adding that he could not confirm that any such acts had taken place.

The UN meanwhile cautioned Friday that it had "heard horrifying reports from the north of human rights violations, recruitment of children and rising sexual violence".

"Protection of civilians is an urgent humanitarian priority, not least in terms of the risk of explosive remnants of war and mines," Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs, told reporters.

Tens of thousands fled northern Mali after Islamic extremists grabbed the vast territory last April, and tens of thousands more fled after the French-led intervention began in January to hunt them down, Marti said.

French-led forces wrested the main northern cities back from the al-Qaeda-linked rebels within weeks, but insurgency has continued.

"The situation is worrying"

A suicide bombing on Thursday in Kidal in the far north and an attack by jihadists in Gao were signs that unrest still plagued the region, Marti said. Five people were killed on Friday in two more suicide bombings in the town of Tessalit.

"Contrary to what some might have thought following French and Malian troops' recapturing of the main towns, the situation is not at all stable or calm," he added.

While the ICRC did not expect to see mass returns, Marti said lone family members would go back to check on their property and scout out the security situation, but these were only "return trips".

The ICRC was also concerned about the situation of prisoners, Marti said, pointing out that the organisation had visited prisons in Bamako and Mopti, as well as at the Gao police station.

While he could not reveal what they had found there, he said "the situation is worrying" and that the findings had been reported to the authorities.

"There is a lot of accumulated hate and tension," he cautioned.

Read more on:    un  |  al-qaeda  |  mali  |  west africa

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Must see! The most luxurious dog house!

This dog house comes with a treadmill and hot tub, you have to see it!

 
 

Luxury living

Exciting new luxury SUV arrives in SA!
WIN!
Ridiculous demands people with too much money make
8 of the priciest places to dock your yacht
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You are a high flier with idealistic and set standards. There is a tendency to be too idealistic or fixed on one way and this can...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.