16 February 2012
Concerns are growing among Tearfund partners in Mali about increasing insecurity and the threat it is posing to development work.
In recent weeks, Tuareg rebels have been locked in conflict with Malian government forces in the country’s north, resulting in the displacement of tens of thousands of civilians.
The conflict has its roots in a long term ambition of the rebels to establish a separate independent state in the north and their cause has been swollen by armed Tuareg supporters of Col Gaddafi returning from Libya.
Their offensive has caused 15,000 people to flee into neighbouring Niger and others to go to Mauritania and Burkina Faso.
Catherine Candish, Tearfund’s Country Representative for Mali, said the instability, together with the growing food crisis affecting the Sahel region, is worrying many Malians.
‘Tearfund partners, who are based in the Timbuktu area, are expressing more and more concern about the insecurity in their region,’ said Cath.
‘They urge us to pray, so let’s pray for a peaceful end to the conflict, for the elections in Mali due to take place this year, and for our partners to be strengthened to speak out for peace.’
Click to see BBC pictures showing the human impact of the conflict.