20 April 2012
Tearfund is urgently calling on churches to pray for Mali and all those that have been forced to flee northern towns.
The Tuareg rebellion – fighting for their own autonomous region – and the escalation of events with Sharia law declared by the Islamist group Ansar Dine in Timbuktu, has meant many families have had to flee their homes.
A pastor fleeing Timbuktu with his family has told us that Tuareg rebels, stopping vehicles entering or leaving the city, forced them to leave on foot. They were able to find local transport after walking 25km.
“It was really hard for my wife but thankfully our children had left 24 hours earlier. But praise God we were saved - and thank you so much for your prayers.
“Across northern Mali, churches and their pastors' houses have been ransacked by the rebels. At Timbuktu we left our belongings behind. Today the whole population is trying to leave, in fear of the Islamist group Ansar Dine and the rebels.”
This pastor joins others calling on us to pray for the displaced population (some 85%) of Timbuktu – for their protection in this extremely volatile situation. Many families are arriving in the capital, Bamako with nothing, and churches there are among others trying to help them.
Conflict in Mali has further compounded the serious food security crisis in West Africa. Over 100,000 people are thought to have fled Mali in the last few weeks, putting pressure on already exacerbated resources in neighbouring countries.
Tearfund is urging supporters - churches and individuals - to pray for the families affected who urgently need help. Pray also for stable leadership, and for a humanitarian corridor to be opened up so that aid can reach those in need in the north.
Some 15 million people are now facing a severe food shortage across Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina.
You can get prayer points about Mali here.