The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is intensifying security and protection activities in the Menaka region in the face of increasing violence, said said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary Antonio Guterres.
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"These patrols will be reinforced with the launch of additional operations that will significantly extend the reach of the MINUSMA force in support of the civilian population," Haq said. "Our colleagues note that this is in addition to the actions already in place in various locations in the so-called three borders area."
The mission is also facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the affected population and is continuing their efforts to prevent and defuse inter-communal tensions.
A fact-finding investigation into human rights violations and abuses has been initiated. The abuses perpetrated against the civilian population will be documented and the related report made public. The aim is to identify the perpetrators and facilitate their prosecution.
The mission says that current developments in the Menaka region highlight not only the need for a stronger state presence but also the need to strengthen cross-border cooperation, given the regional nature of the security challenges facing the Sahel.
The Menaka region is centered on an ancient Sahara desert town where security, like in other areas of impoverished Mali, is deteriorating. For weeks the UN mission urged Malian authorities to allow human rights workers to investigate a reported attack in the southern town of Mara, where about 200 people, mainly civilians, were killed in a raid.
Mali has been facing security, political and economic crises since 2012, with insurgencies, jihadist incursions and inter-communal violence killing thousands of people and displacing hundreds of thousands of others in the West African country.