Geneva / Niamey — With the situation throughout the country continuing to arouse concern, recent clashes in central Mali between the national army and groups based in the north threaten to make living conditions more difficult still for an already sorely tried population.
This is the first time since April last year that fighting has occurred in central Mali.
Many families have fled their homes in Konna, Amba and Boré toward Mopti and Sévaré further south. Backed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), volunteers from the Mali Red Cross are assessing the most urgent needs of the newly displaced people.
"Large numbers have been arriving in Mopti and Sévaré," said Jean-Nicolas Marti, head of the ICRC delegation covering Niger and Mali. "This influx could worsen the already grim living conditions of displaced and residents alike." Most of the people who have fled their homes in recent months have found refuge with host families who are sharing their meagre resources, including food.
The ICRC and the Mali Red Cross are stepping up their work to help people affected by the conflict in the north and in the Mopti area. This largely involves food aid, medical care and programmes to furnish drinking water.
"We remind all parties to the conflict of the their obligation to respect international humanitarian law," Marti said, stressing the rules that protect the civilian population and people no longer taking part in the fighting, whether because they are wounded or captured.