Mali war creates 44,000 refugees,‘’worst rights crisis in 20 yrs’’
Amnesty International has described the ongoing fighting in northern Mali as the worst human rights crisis there for 20 years.
“The rule of law has been markedly absent in this part of the country for years, and the region could be plunged into chaos if the fighting continues,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, researcher on West Africa for the London-based rights group.
Last month, fighting broke out betweeen rebels calling themselves the Azawad National Liberation Movement and Malian government soldiers in the north of the country.
In a statement issued at the weekend, Amnesty said the escalation of the fighting is causing a human rights crisis in the area.
More than 44,000 people are said to have crossed into Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso.
The United Nations has said the number of Malian refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries to escape the fighting in northern Mali has doubled over the past 10 days.
The sub-regional bloc, ECOWAS has condemned the rebels for their onslaught. The offensive by the Azawad liberation movement rebels started their offensive, after many Malian ethnic Tuareg fighters returned from Libya, where they had fought alongside Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces.
According to Amnesty International, the most serious fighting to date took place in Alguelhoc, some 750 km north-east of the capital Bamako.
Meanwhile, the London-based human rights group has called for an inquest into claims of extrajudicial killings in northern Mali.
“In view of the contradicting stories about how the soldiers depicted in these images were killed, there is an urgent need for an independent and impartial inquiry into what happened,” Mootoo of Amnesty said.
The rights group also wants “The MNLA should reveal the names of any captives they are currently holding and allow the Red Cross unrestricted access to them.”Tweet