Security on the wane in north-eastern Mali

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El-Ghassim Wane, the man at the helm of the United Nations (UN) mission in Mali, told the Security Council (SC) the security situation in the Menaka region of the West African country is “rapidly degrading”.

Since last year, the situation in north-eastern Mali continues to deteriorate; with increasing clashes between terrorist armed groups seeking to control supply routes and expand their spheres of influence he said.

“The civilian population is targeted, leading to massive displacement of people who now converge in the city of Menaka; where over 30 000 people have already taken refuge since last year,” Wane told the Council.

During his most recent visit to Menaka, he was witness to the increasingly worrying situation. “I saw with my own eyes the devastating impact of these developments,” he told Council members.

Addressing the humanitarian situation, he emphasised “the influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) increases pressure on the humanitarian response, with urgent needs for clean water, food, medicine, and shelter”.

The MINUSMA head highlighted limited capacities of both the mission and Malian authorities to address rising humanitarian and civilian protection needs in Menaka.

Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF) conduct operations against terrorist armed groups around the city and escort commercial convoys along major supply routes. MINUSMA continues to implement civilian protection measures through day and night patrols in co-ordination with the Malian regional command, covering a radius of up to 15km from the city centre.

MINUSMA further undertakes activities to promote reconciliation and social cohesion to defuse intercommunal tensions. “These joint efforts are insufficient to meet growing security needs,” Wane said.