Security situation in northern Mali needs urgent attention: UN official

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These Malian refugee boys have just collected vital water from a nearby water bladder and are dragging the containers to their family shelters. UNHCR/H. Caux

The security situation in northern Mali continues to deteriorate with reports of human rights abuses and the arrival of jihadists and terrorists to join the armed groups there.

That's what the head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman said on Wednesday during a briefing to the Security Council on the situation in Mali.

He said there are deep divisions between political stakeholders in the capital, Bamako over how to implement key national priorities.

Mr. Feltman said there have been clashes between the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) in the north-eastern region of Gao.

According to the UN official, both groups have also reported that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb backed MUJAO in the clashes.

 "Reports indicated that many civilians have fled from the region of Gao and moved closer to the Niger border or the surrounding desert due to the fighting. Twelve civilians have been reportedly killed during the attacks. As further evidence of the increasing insecurity in the North, on 27 November, a spokesman for Ansar Dine announced that the group had wrested control of the town of Lere, south west of Timbuktu, from the MNLA. In the meantime, there are continuing reports of jihadists and terrorist elements arriving in the north of the country to join with the armed groups."

Duration: 31"

Mr. Feltman said that more than 412,000 people have been forced to flee northern Mali, with half of them crossing the border into neighbouring countries.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’44″

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