MINUSMA Head alerts Security Council to civilian needs in Ménaka
The Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), Mr. El-Ghassim Wane, has raised the alarm on the rapidly degrading security situation in Menaka, Mali before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
Since 2022, the situation in this town in northeastern Mali has continued to deteriorate; with increasing clashes between terrorist armed groups seeking to control supply routes and expand their sphere of influence.
"The civilian population is being targeted, leading to a massive displacement of people who are now converging in the city of Menaka; where over 30,000 people have already taken refuge since last year," declared Mr. Wane in his address before the Council.
During his most recent visit to Menaka, Mr. Wane bore witness to the increasingly worrying situation in the area. "I saw with my own eyes the devastating impact of these developments," he told Council members.
Addressing the humanitarian situation, he emphasized that "the influx of internally displaced persons has increased pressure on the humanitarian response, with the population manifesting urgent needs related to clean water, food, medicine, and shelter.”
“Listening to displaced persons as they literally begged us for clean water to drink was a heart-wrenching experience," he concluded. The Head of MINUSMA also highlighted the limited capacities of both the Mission and Malian authorities to address rising humanitarian and civilian protection needs in Menaka.
However, Malian Defense and Security Forces (MDSF) are currently conducting operations against terrorist armed groups around the city and escorting commercial convoys along major supply routes. In the meantime, MINUSMA also continues to implement civilian protection measures through a combination of daytime and nighttime patrols in coordination with the Malian regional command, covering a radius of up to 15 kilometers from the city center.
MINUSMA has further undertaken activities to promote reconciliation and social cohesion to defuse intercommunal tensions. However, "these joint efforts are insufficient to meet the growing security needs of the population," lamented Mr. El-Ghassim Wane.
He concluded by stating that "the situation in Menaka is very concerning and requires urgent action from the international community. It is essential to support the efforts of MINUSMA and the Malian authorities to protect the civilian population and meet their humanitarian needs."
Paying tribute to humanitarian agencies for their commitment, the Head of MINUSMA reminded the Council that only eight percent of
the $751 million requested for Mali in the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan has been mobilized thus far.