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

US Border Patrol Union Accused of Taking Sides on Immigration

Report alleges agents leaking info to immigration opponents, appearing at their private events; Center for Immigration Studies director defends agents' actions More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

Video Rights Monitor: Hate Groups' Use of Internet to Inflame, Recruit Growing

Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper says extremists have become skilled at celebrating violence, ideology on Web 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs