Thousands need aid in northern Mali: UN

2015-05-30 09:00
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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

London - Clashes between armed groups in northern Mali have forced almost 60 000 people to flee their homes in the past month, the United Nations refugee agency said amid escalating violence that threatened to derail UN-brokered peace efforts.

A ceasefire deal was signed between the government, its allies and northern separatist groups last year, but violations have increased since pro-government fighters seized the flashpoint town of Menaka late last month.

Mali's government and allied militia signed a UN-backed peace deal in March, but Tuareg-led rebels said more talks were needed, delaying international efforts to restore order to a zone awash with separatist and Islamist gunmen.

Sleeping outdoors

A spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, William Spindler said: "The volatile security situation is hindering access for humanitarian workers to all affected areas and the growing insecurity in the region is making the provision of protection and assistance to the newly-displaced very challenging."

Tens of thousands of people have fled their villages in Gao, Mopti and Timbuktu in northern Mali in recent weeks due to fear of violence or forced recruitment by armed groups and many are sleeping outdoors, according to the UNHCR.

Hundreds of refugees have also crossed into neighbouring Niger, Mauritania and Burkina Faso since the end of April.

The UNHCR said the violence had exacerbated tensions between villagers. Refugees who fled to Niger from a single village in Gao do not want to live in the same camp as they accuse each other of having links to opposing armed groups, the UNHCR said.

Human rights abuses

More than 100 000 people have been uprooted within Mali since conflict broke out between pro-government forces and rebel groups in 2012, while some 137 500 people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, according to the refugee agency.

Violence has continued in northern Mali despite a 2013 French-led intervention that pushed back al Qaeda-linked fighters who hijacked the Tuareg-led rebellion and seized two-thirds of the country in 2012.

The UN mission in Mali said last week it was investigating reports of serious human rights abuses, including the execution of civilians in the north of the country.

Clashes last week killed at least six civilians, including a Malian aid worker, rebels and a local source said at the time.

Read more on:    unhcr  |  mali  |  west africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X 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
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.