News / Africa

UNHCR Predicts Another 700,000 Displaced in Mali

People on donkey-drawn carts cross a strategic bridge over a dam on the Niger River secured by French forces in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
People on donkey-drawn carts cross a strategic bridge over a dam on the Niger River secured by French forces in Markala, Mali, January 18, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The U.N. refugee agency says it expects another 700,000 people will be uprooted by the conflict in Mali in the coming months.  The UNHCR says this number includes hundreds of thousands of people inside Mali who were forced out of their homes, and additional hundreds of thousands who fled the country and are now refugees.

The 700,000 uprooted Malians are in addition to nearly 375,000 people already displaced inside Mali and in neighboring countries.  The U.N. refugee agency says refugee numbers have been rising steadily since the fighting began between French forces and Islamist militants in the central part of the country.  
 
UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming says people are fleeing the fighting and the region occupied by the Islamists at a rate of about 3,000 a day.  She says the refugees are giving horrific accounts of living under the rule of rebel Islamic fighters.
 
“Many also fear the strict application of Sharia law.  They report having witnessed executions, amputations and they say that also large amounts of money are being offered to civilians to fight against the Malian army and its supporters," she said. "Disturbingly also, we are hearing accounts that there are children among the rebel fighters.  They are certainly not there willingly.  Also, people are very distressed and saying that family members have just disappeared.”  
 
Fleming says there are those who take advantage of desperate people in every situation of crisis.  And, Mali is no exception.  
 
She says refugees are telling aid workers that people are offering transport out of the country at exorbitant fees and this is discouraging many more people from leaving.  
 
“They say that they have to pay the equivalent of $50.00 to get out.  For many, that is equivalent to more than a month’s earnings," Fleming noted. "Most are women and children and others, they say are on their way by foot, using donkeys, local transportation… All of them say that they hope that this military intervention will be successful, short-lived and some people for that reason are waiting before they make the decision to flee across borders.”  
 
France launched its military operation in northern Mali a week ago after a rapid advance by Islamist rebels.  French authorities say they also want to stop their former colony from becoming a terrorist state.
 
Meanwhile, the French defense minister says his country has increased the number of troops in Mali from 800 to 1,400.  Troops from other West African nations have begun arriving in Mali to bolster the French offensive.  
 
The UNHCR says it is urgently reinforcing its staff and resources for Mali to assist the growing numbers of internally displaced and refugees.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rastas
January 20, 2013 7:16 AM
Where was the UNHCR on Zimbabwe? Murambatsvina ring any bells.Hmm didnt think so.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid