SAHEL: Displaced Malians burden food-insecure hostsPhoto: ReliefWebMap of areas affected by fighting and subsequent displacement
BAMAKO/DAKAR, – Some 12,000 Malians have fled fighting in the towns of Ménaka and Anderamboucane in northern Mali and reached already food-insecure villages around Tillabéri in western Niger, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
The Malian refugees are spread across the villages of Mangaizé, Chinégodar, Koutoubou, Yassan and Ayorou in Niger, according to the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the bulk of them – an estimated 7,000 – in Chinégodar, which is usually home to 1,500, according to Franck Kuwonu at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Niamey.
Fighting broke out between Touareg rebels and former soldiers from Libya, and the Malian army in mid-January. Rebel groups and former Libya fighters have reportedly acquired fresh weapons as a result of the Libya conflict and have launched a new movement, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which calls for the creation of an independent state encompassing the regions of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu in northern Mali.