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12 Aug 2016 description
report Voice of America

By Katarina Hoije

BAMAKO — Recent clashes in northern and central Mali are hampering the deployment of humanitarian assistance, leaving vulnerable populations with limited or no access to health care, food, water and shelter.

While non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, can access most areas, banditry and continued attacks on roads slow down operations while posing a threat to humanitarian staff, says Badjougue Dambele, humanitarian coordinator for Oxfam.

26 Nov 2014 description
report Voice of America

Katarina Hoije
November 25, 2014 1:28 PM

BAMAKO—Human rights organizations have filed a complaint on behalf of 80 survivors of rape and sexual violence during the occupation of northern Mali.

More than 2,000 women and girls were subject to rape or forced marriages in 2012-2013 when Islamist extremists and separatist rebels took control of Gao and Timbuktu. This is the first independent attempt to bring justice for the victims.

07 Mar 2014 description
report Voice of America

Peter Clottey March 06, 2014

An African Union official says the organization’s Mission to Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL) has launched a cooperation initiative with countries in the Sahel to combat terrorism as part of efforts to stabilize the region.

18 Feb 2014 description
report Voice of America

Jennifer Lazuta

DAKAR, SENEGAL — The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization says schools in Mali have been training cotton farmers about how to use natural substances in order to reduce the use of dangerous pesticides by 92 percent, while maintaining normal crop yields. The natural pesticides also may save money.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization found that the introduction of new pest-control methods to cotton growers in Mali “nearly eliminated” the use of toxic pesticides.

08 Nov 2013 description
report Voice of America

SAG-NIONIOGO CAMP, BURKINA FASO — As hundreds of thousands of displaced Malians begin returning to their homes in the north, post-conflict ethnic reconciliation remains a key challenge for officials in Bamako.

But at the Sag-Nioniogo refugee camp in central Burkina Faso, where an ethnic patchwork of uprooted northern Malians have found ways to get past the tensions and live in harmony, divisions over the question of an independent northern Mali persist.

23 Oct 2013 description
report Voice of America

Lisa Schlein

October 22, 2013

GENEVA — The United Nations says it is working on an integrated strategy to deal with the recurring crises in Africa's Sahel region. The U.N. says new approaches are needed to make vulnerable people in the nine Sahelian countries able to cope with the humanitarian emergencies that keep them in poverty and dependent on the international community for aid.

28 Jul 2013 description
report Voice of America

Ivan Broadhead

July 27, 2013

BAMAKO — Almost a million Malians remain displaced after ethnic and jihadist violence spread across the north following last year’s coup d’état.

Despite fresh memories of conflict and atrocity, some of those displaced are seeking to return to their hometowns to vote in Sunday’s presidential election.

In a country that was home to only six psychiatrists before the war, aid agencies are seeking to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress, particularly among vulnerable children.

25 Jul 2013 description
report Voice of America

Anne Look

BAMAKO — Malians rank peace and stability as top priorities for the country's next president. They go to the polls Sunday amid tensions in the far northern town of Kidal. It has been occupied by the Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA, since a French-led military intervention against jihadist groups in northern Mali began in January.

What to do about Kidal?

Mali's 27 presidential candidates have tried to strike a delicate balance, pledging to get tough on the country's vast security challenges while fostering reconciliation.

18 Jul 2013 description
report Voice of America

Heather Murdock July 17, 2013

ABUJA, NIGERIA — West African leaders have called for $25 million in international aid to help secure the upcoming elections in Mali. As Guinea-Bissau also prepares for elections, leaders want an end to international sanctions on that country.

Heads of state from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, are meeting this week in the Nigerian capital ahead of elections in Mali and Guinea-Bissau, two countries in turmoil.

13 Jun 2013 description
report Voice of America

Peter Clottey
Last updated on: June 12, 2013 7:06 PM

A team of officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is in Mali to assess the security and political situation in the approach to the country’s July 28 presidential election.

Sonny Ugoh, the ECOWAS communications director, said the fact finding mission is part of the regional bloc’s plans to restore constitutional rule in Mali and maintain its territorial integrity.

“This is consistent with the requirement of our protocol on democracy and good governance…,” Ugoh said.

14 May 2013 description
report Voice of America

NIAMEY — Niger is offering cash rewards to anyone reporting a case of Guinea worm as part of efforts to permanently eradicate the parasitic disease in the impoverished West African nation, the health ministry said.

Though it once afflicted around 3.5 million people annually across Asia and Africa, according to the U.S.-based Carter Center, Guinea worm disease is now on the verge of being eradicated worldwide.

19 Mar 2013 description
report Voice of America

Kim Lewis

Last updated on: March 19, 2013 10:16 AM

The ongoing conflict in Mali has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. The toll can be devastating as families are uprooted and forced to live in circumstances that they are not used to.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, IDMC, found for women and girls, it is especially traumatic. On top of the harsh rules they are now living under in a new location, there are countless reports of sexual violence, even forced marriages of very young girls to their assailants.

06 Mar 2013 description
report Voice of America

Jamie Dettmer
March 05, 2013

TRIPOLI, LIBYA — Since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted as Libya’s leader over a year ago, Egyptian officials have been intercepting large caches of weapons smuggled from Libya destined for black-market transfer to Syria and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

But in recent weeks the pattern of the arms shipments has shifted, according to officials, and fundamentalist Muslim groups in Egypt, known as Salafis, also are receiving the weapons.

27 Feb 2013 description
report Voice of America

Lisa Schlein

February 26, 2013

GENEVA — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is appealing for $45 million to meet the emergency needs of women and children affected by the Malian crisis for the next three months. UNICEF says it has received little money so far to help a quarter-million people displaced inside Mali, as well as an estimated 170,000 refugees who have fled to neighboring Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

18 Feb 2013 description
report Voice of America

Nancy Palus February 18, 2013

As soldiers in Mali continue working to root out armed militants, aid organizations are navigating rivers and mined roads to bring relief to communities affected by the fighting. Some 36,000 people have fled their homes since fighting began in January, but families who stayed also need help.

Aid agencies say families in northern Mali are running dangerously low on food.

30 Jan 2013 description
report Voice of America

Residents of the newly liberated Malian city of Timbuktu looted stores owned by Arabs and Tuaregs suspected of collaborating with Islamist militants who fled earlier this week.

Witnesses say Malian soldiers stood by while people stole almost everything they could lift up and carry. The occupiers had imposed strict Islamic law in the city, including a dress code and a ban on music.

22 Jan 2013 description
report Voice of America

A reporter on the ground in northern Mali says most Islamist militants have fled the city of Gao since last week, when French warplanes bombed their positions.

The VOA reporter in Gao said Tuesday that some militants have been spotted in the area - driving in trucks or riding motorbikes or hiding out in trees. But he adds it is clear the Islamists are not numerous or organized enough to continue applying the strict Sharia law they imposed after taking control of the city last April.

22 Jan 2013 description
report Voice of America

Anne Look

BAMAKO, MALI — Concern is growing for Malian civilians caught in the fighting in the north and central parts of the country. French and Malian forces are trying to dislodge al-Qaida linked rebels who have controlled northern Mali since April and who began a push south on January 9. Aid agencies say military security measures are restricting humanitarian access to combat zones. As fighting escalates, authorities are confronted by the question of how to protect civilians amid fears that the enemy is hiding among them.

11 Jan 2013 description
report Voice of America

DAKAR — The Malian government has ordered all schools shut down in the capital and a nearby garrison town following demonstrations in the two cities. Some 800 kilometers south of the front line where the army is fighting to hold back Islamic militants, people are increasingly frustrated with a worsening economic situation and what many call government inaction.

All schools, from kindergarten to university, are closed until further notice in the Malian capital Bamako and the nearby garrison town of Kati about 15 kilometers away.

19 Nov 2012 description
report Voice of America

Jennifer Lazuta November 19, 2012

DAKAR, SENEGAL — Severe food shortages have hit 18 million people across nine countries this year in Africa's Sahel region, following unpredictable and insufficient rains. The region bordering the Sahara Desert has had three severe food crises in four years, and international aid agencies say it is time to break the cycle of food insecurity in the Sahel.

As this year's emergency winds down, the question on aid workers' minds is, "How can the Sahel break from its recurring cycle of food crises?"