News / Africa

Medical Group Reports Civilian Casualties in Northern Mali Fighting

Nancy Palus

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders says a second civilian has been killed in an apparent army air strike in northern Mali.  Several other people, mostly women and children, were wounded in the attack.  An army official told VOA he could not confirm the incident, but said it would be "very distressing" if civilians were hurt in the fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels.

Doctors Without Borders says it is difficult to know the number and extent of further injuries as many of the people affected have fled the group's makeshift site, about 20 kilometers outside of the city of Kidal in northeastern Mali.

Michel-Olivier Lacharité, program manager for Doctors Without Borders in Mali, talked to VOA from Paris.

"Out of the two persons referred to the hospital of Kidal, the second one died yesterday night from his wounds.  So two people are now dead and because the compound of the population moved away it was impossible for us to see what is the status of the other wounded people."

Distinguishing between fighters and civilians

Lacharité said Doctors Without Borders urges both sides to spare civilians.

"We are very concerned for the civilian population and we really want to remind all parties in the conflict to make the distinction between the fighters and the civilians," he said.

Colonel Idrissa Traore, head of the army information service, told VOA on Friday he does not yet have confirmation that an army strike harmed residents, but said that even one civilian casualty is one too many.

He said the Malian army consistently has the security of the citizens as its top priority in all its operations. He said the army has a delicate mission in the north to separate rebels from the population and since fighting began in January there has been no word of army actions against civilians.

Traore said it has yet to be determined how civilians were harmed.

He questions by which side were civilians injured?  That, he says, is the big question.

Pleads for restraint

Lacharité of Doctors Without Borders said whatever the nature of the attack, what is of most concern, and what must be addressed, is that the killed and injured were all civilians.

A resident of Kidal who requested anonymity told VOA he saw some of the injured in the local hospital.

He says they are really in shock and distressed.  He said it is even difficult to understand some of them because they are so traumatized.  They have no idea why this happened, he says, they are just collateral victims.

Humanitarian agencies say that since January, fighting between Tuareg rebels and the Malian army has forced tens of thousands of Malians from their homes. The U.N. office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs says that at least 120,000 people have fled their homes - about half crossing into neighboring countries, the rest displaced within Mali.

Since January, Tuareg rebels demanding autonomy for the north have attacked the Malian army in several northern towns.  The Malian government has faced periodic uprisings by Tuareg groups for decades, but the latest offensive is more intense with the arrival of Tuareg fighters and heavy weapons from Libya after the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.


You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More