Thousands Continue to Flee Fighting in Mali

06.04.2012 - Human Wrongs Watch - Human Wrongs Watch

The north of the country is becoming more and more dangerous due to the proliferation of armed groups in the region,” a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Melissa Fleming, [told](http://www.unhcr.org/4f7acfc73.html) reporters.

Renewed fighting in northern Mali has uprooted more than 200,000 people since January, with the majority seeking safety in neighbouring countries and some 93,000 believed to be internally displaced. The country is also dealing with a coup by rebel Malian soldiers who took control of the country some 10 days ago and announced the dissolution of the Government led by President Amadou Toumani Toure.

Fleming [reported](http://www.unhcr.org/4f7aeb6a6.html) that more than 2,000 people have fled to Burkina Faso and Mauritania over the past five days because of the insecurity and the political instability stemming from the military coup. The majority of the refugees are Tuaregs, but there are also ethnic Peuls, Arabs and Bambara.

**Armed Robbers**

Refugees pouring into neighbouring countries are reporting the presence of armed militiamen and home guards units set up by local communities to defend themselves, she said.

“Most tell UNHCR staff that they fled because they were worried about armed robbers and feared there would be more heavy fighting in the north, while some said they left their homes due to lack of food,” said Fleming. “Others told our teams that they decided to leave Mali when hopes for a negotiated peace between the Government and Tuareg rebels in the north faded after the coup.”

The number of Malians crossing into Niger appears to have dropped recently, with UNHCR hearing of only one group of 300 people crossing last week and seeking shelter in the village of Ayrou.

The agency is stepping up its assistance to Malian refugees across the Sahel region who face acute water and food shortages. The influx of large numbers of mostly nomadic refugees and their cattle is straining the limited resources in many arrival areas, and the situation has worsened since Tuareg fighters captured several big towns in the north last week, preventing UNHCR and other aid agencies from reaching those in need of assistance.

“UNHCR is calling on all parties to refrain from any action that could put fleeing populations in danger or hamper their movement to safer areas,” said Fleming.

****

2012 [Human Wrongs Watch](http://human-wrongs-watch.net/2012/04/03/6950/)

Categories: Africa, Human Rights

Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to our daily news service.

Follow LIVE Chile’s mobilisations 25.02.20

Film: The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons

Documentary: UBI, our right to live

In Mobilization For Assange!

2nd World March for Peace and Nonviolence

Milagro Sala

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Archives

Except where otherwise note, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.