Don't forget about Mali, ICRC warns

Feb. 21, 2012 at 1:43 PM

BAMAKO, Mali, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- Fighting in northern Mali has caused at least 60,000 people to become internally displaced, the International Committee of the Red Cross said.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders in early February stopped working in Mali after fighting erupted between Taureg rebels and government forces. The United Nations notes the conflict violates terms of a 2009 cease-fire.

Fighting in Mali attributed to Tuareg rebels erupted in January when they returned from fighting alongside forces loyal to former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. The simmering conflict, after years of peace, rekindled ethnic tensions between northern and southern Malians.

The ICRC said initially an estimated 30,000 people were displaced. At least twice that many were left their homes because of recent fighting.

"Many families, including some with very young children, pregnant women or elderly people, are living under trees or out in the open," Jurg Eglin, the head of the ICRC's regional delegation, said in a statement.

The ICRC said ongoing fighting is compounded by food shortages due to poor harvests in the region. The aid group said the scarcity of resources could exacerbate a tense situation.

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