Update on Unrest in Mali

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    Was at #Niger #Mali border today: thousands of Malian refugees survive in makeshift shelters. Fear returning to unsafe #Azawad Mali region
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    #Malian#refugee Zoulfa in #Ayorou, #Niger:”Several armed men entered our village in #Mali & stole everyth. We fled w our children, cattle”
  3. UNHCR reports that more than 44,000 people have fled fighting into neighboring countries Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.
  4. Like populations in many other Sahel countries, Malians are particularly vulnerable in times of civil unrest because they already live a subsistence lifestyle – without reserves of food or funds. As they enter similar subsistence economies in neighboring Sahel countries, they put additional strains on limited resources.
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  7. The violence is also putting strain on democratic institutions in Mali. According to Amnesty International, the Malian government is both arresting suspected Tuareg participants without due process and failing to protect Tuareg people threatened during protests in Bamako, the capital:
    “During the demonstrations, the Malian security forces failed to prevent an angry mob from attacking homes and properties owned by Tuaregs and other ethnic groups – including Arabs and Mauritanians – living in the capital.”  
  8. Violence is spreading out of the Sahara and into the Sahel. Yesterday, armed groups entered Hombori, in Central Mali, and killed the village chief. While some reports attribute the violence to Tuareg rebels, others attribute the murder to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is also active in northern Mali. 
  9. Meanwhile, Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure has announced that the scheduled presidential elections in April will go forward, despite the violence. 

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