North Mali: 175 children being used by rebels, 8 sexually abused
--UNHCR report reveals
Some 175 children have reportedly been used by armed groups in northern Mali, with 17 cases of sexual violence reported by displaced women, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has said.
In its situation report just released on Mali, UNHCR said 8 children victims of sexual abuses have also been identified by the UN children’s agency (UNICEF).
“The sub-cluster indicates that the population of unaccompanied street children in Kiddal, Timbuktu and Gao, cases estimated at 500, is subject to many risks including recruitment and abuses by armed groups,” the UNHCR report said.
The ongoing precarious situation in Mali has uprooted the country’s social fabric and separated many families, as UNHCR’s Child Protection office is said to have identified 410 unaccompanied children and 92 seperated.
Mali’s education sector has at the same time received a devastating hit from the ongoing conflict, especially in the north, where the UNHCR report indicates that access to education is nonexistent.
“The findings reveal that most schools in the north have been looted or burnt down and that 80% of education staff are now displaced to south Mali.”
In the rebel-occupied northern cities of Timbuktu,Gao and Kidal, the UNHCR report said “schools are closed or education suspended.”