Mali: Aid groups see rising security risk in Mali

Bamakoi, Mali - Two separate attacks on U.N. peacekeeping bases in Mali this month have escalated security concerns for non-governmental and international organizations in the country’s northern and central regions.

According to Devex, a media platform for the global development community, the already-volatile area has seen a rise in incidents against NGOs in recent months, and analysts fear local extremist groups may be forming in Mali’s central and southern regions in response to limited governance.

The insecurity has increased humanitarian needs, as public services deteriorate and livelihoods are compromised. Meanwhile, aid organizations are struggling to operate and address those needs given the complex safety risks.

“In this insecurity and fighting, you have elements who simply don’t respect humanitarian organizations and, in fact, they openly target humanitarian organizations,” John Ging, director of operations for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA)
, told Devex. “The influence we have and our ability to negotiate respect for and security for our operation in an environment in central and northern Mali has limitations.”

Attacks on U.N. peacekeepers on 14 August took place in Timbuktu, in Mali’s north, and Douenza, in the central region. In the former case, armed assailants targeted the headquarters of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), leaving six dead. One peacekeeper and a Malian soldier died in the second incident.

Relief groups have developed personalized security protocols to cope with ever-present risks, Devex reported on Monday. It said that security experts also urge the development community to work with and through local partners at all stages of programming and implementation to mitigate risks and build trust.

Mali has maintained a high-security risk profile since 2003, when Algeria’s militant Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat fled across into the country’s northern region.

The country today is home to overlapping conflicts, including between roaming pastoralists and farmers, as well as jihadists groups.
-0- PANA AR 28Aug2017

28 août 2017 16:34:27

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