UN says 400 000 refugees may flee Mali

2013-01-18 14:56

Geneva - Up to 700 000 people are expected to be uprooted by the violence in Mali, including 400 000 who could flee to neighbouring countries in the coming months, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday.

French, Malian and African forces are confronting an Islamist rebel alliance that includes al-Qaeda's North African wing in a military operation that began last week.

"We believe there could be in the near future an additional 300,000 displaced inside Mali and up to 400 000 additional displaced [refugees] in neighbouring countries," UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming told a news briefing in Geneva.

At least 147 000 Malians have already fled to countries including Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Algeria since the crisis began last year. About 229 000 Malians are already internally displaced within Mali.

"We have been hearing horrific accounts from refugees in the neighbouring countries," Fleming said.

"They report having witnessed executions, amputations, and they say also large amounts of money being offered to civilians to fight against the Malian army and its supporters," she said.

"Disturbingly we are also hearing accounts that there are children among the rebel fighters."

  • gert_swart - 2013-01-18 18:05

    And the "moderate" followers of islam is dead quiet. Probably because there are non of them!

      Gorden Norman - 2013-01-18 22:39

      Its weekend finished with friday prayers time for them to get drunk or goofed

  • phil.losopher.3 - 2013-01-18 20:49

    The ugly face of religion strikes again.

  • martin.matope.9 - 2013-01-19 00:10

    God must punnish those who are behind the war in Mali .Many people are dying ,displaced and raped .young children used as weapons of war let's pray for others and UN must take action with immidiate effect

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