- Fighting in Kidal broke out on 17 May and has resulted in the takeover of the town of Kidal by armed groups on 21 May.
- Most humanitarian actors have left Kidal as of 21 May.
- Population displacement has been reported, with some 3,000 people reportedly displaced within Kidal region and 450 displaced people from Kidal have been registered in Gao.
- UNICEF has prepositioned WASH and shelter supplies in Gao, in addition to WASH supplies already pre-positioned in Kidal.
- UNICEF continues to monitor the humanitarian and security situation and is ready to respond to any increase in humanitarian need of women and children in Kidal region as soon as humanitarian access is ensured, as well as to displaced population around the affected area.
On 17 May anti-government protests in Kidal dissolved into violence and a hostage situation including civilians and government workers. Clashes resulted in at least 36 people dead and 87 injured during fighting, according to the Malian Ministry of Defence. Kidal is presently under the control of the MNLA. Some 44 UN staff members, working with the UN Peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) remain in Kidal and have been instructed to stay within the premises of MINUSMA camp until further notice. The town of Ménaka is also under MNLA control (MINUSMA). The security situation in and around Kidal remains tense and is evolving.
Access to Kidal, which has been limited since the start of the crisis in 2012, remains restricted. Information about humanitarian need in and around Kidal is also inadequate, however the humanitarian community has currently estimated that 1,000 people so far are in need of humanitarian aid. Because most humanitarian actors in Kidal have left, humanitarian response capacity is also severely limited. Reports indicate that the presence of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Kidal town and its surroundings poses an additional threat to the safe delivery of humanitarian aid and may hinder access to population in need. In addition, access to basic social services in Kidal is also reportedly worsening as a result of government administration having left the region due to insecurity.