Burkina Faso + 7 more

West Africa: Humanitarian situation report 19 Sep 2007

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Situation Report
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SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS

- More than 500 000 people are victims of flood in West Africa. Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso are among the most affected countries.

- Deterioration of the health situation in northern Niger and northern Mali

- Risk of worsening food insecurity due to the floods

- Cholera: resurgence in Senegal and persistence in Guinea

- The United Nations identify new challenges in West Africa through the call for Consolidated Funds (CAP)

- The identification of Mauritanian refugees in Senegal wishing to return home continues.

1 - SOCIO-POLITICAL AND SECURITY SITUATION

Disturbing security situation in Northern Mali and Northern Niger

In Mali - The security situation in the north deteriorated significantly in August and September, with an increase in security incidents. On 26 August 2007, 15 soldiers were kidnapped by armed men in Tedjerete, north-east of Mali. The following day, a military convoy was said to have been attacked on the Abéïbara-Tinzaouatine road, not far from the Algerian border while three vehicles and soldiers were reportedly kidnapped as well. This series of events led to clashes between the regular army and armed elements, in an area where land mines have already caused the death of at least 16 civilians in late August.

In the face of this insecurity, the populations are allegedly leaving Northern Mali- - particularly the surroundings of the Kidal city- to seek refuge in the safer parts of the country. The clashes reported in this zone continue to cause casualties.

In Niger - The Movement of Nigeriens for Justice (MNJ) released fourteen Nigerien soldiers on 16 September, following Libya's intervention. On 7 September, the Movement had announced that it had captured six soldiers during an attack against a military base in Agharous, in the north, in addition to thirty-three soldiers whom they have been detaining since June. The latter were part of a group of 72 Nigerien soldiers captured during a raid which left thirteen others dead in this region. The North of Niger has become the theatre of bloody confrontations between governmental forces and the MNJ since February.

Besides, the Government of Niger has set up an ad hoc commission to put an end to the rebellion in this country. The commission, which did not set a timeframe, has already started collecting proposals for a lasting solution to the crisis.

The Office for Crises Prevention and Rehabilitation (BCPR) has included Niger in a "mine" action programme. BCPR speaks against the use of mines, which has already caused many deaths in the north of the country.

Sierra Leone: Opposition candidate Ernest Koroma elected democratically to head the country

Opposition candidate Ernest Koroma won the presidential elections with 54.6% of the votes during the second round held on 8 September, according to the results published by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on 17 September. Mr. Ernest Koroma ran under the banner of the All Peoples Congress (APC) against his opponent Solomon Berewa of the ruling party, the Sierra Leone Peoples' Party. The jubilant population took to the streets of the capital, Freetown, following the announcement of the results. Security was reinforced because of the violent incidents that peppered the start of the election campaign. These presidential elections were considered as a democratic test in a country that has just been ushered out of a decade of civil war.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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