More Malians fleeing to Mauritania and Burkina Faso

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Displaced families in Mali

Fighting between rebel Tuaregs and the Malian army is forcing Malian refugees to flee to Mauritania and Burkina Faso according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR.

An estimated 31,000 Malians have fled into Mauritania, while nearly 20,000 have been registered in Burkina Faso. Both countries are reported to be receiving at least 2,000 Malians refugees daily.

Andrej Mahecic from UNHCR says most of the refugees have fled their homes for fear of being caught up in the fighting. Many are also concerned about bandits, who are taking advantage of the prevailing instability to loot homes and property.

"The overall number of people who have crossed from Mali into neighboring countries now stands at close to 80,000, according to government tallies. In addition, the number of internally displaced people within Mali has been revised upward to roughly the same amount, some 81,000, according to government officials and humanitarian organizations operating in northern Mali. UNHCR has started to register refugees in all three asylum countries. This will allow us to refine population statistics and also provide us with a more detailed picture of the refugees and their needs. We are hoping to finish registration within the next few weeks."  (Duration: 39″)

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