United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed on Friday called for greater participation by women and young people in Mali’s ongoing transition to a lasting peace, and the response to the COVID – 19 pandemic, while she continues her solidarity visit to the West Africa and the Sahel.
The visit of Mrs. Mohammed comes because the Central Sahel region is struggling to cope with a burgeoning humanitarian and security crisis: the number of people in need of humanitarian aid in Mali increased from 4.3 to 6.8 million between January and August 2020.
In October, Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the countries in the border region between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso were caught in a ‘downward spiral’ amid growing violence, insecurity and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mali, which underwent a military coup in August, has established a new civilian-led transitional government, but is still very volatile. Extremist groups apparently ignored the call and encouraged followers to take advantage of the power vacuum exacerbated by COVID-19, including by spreading disinformation in emergency communities.
Attacks in October killed 12 civilians and at least 11 Malian soldiers were killed in separate attacks in the center of the country. Only three days later, one peacekeeper was killed and another injured in two more incidents.
Last year, 81 aid workers in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger were wounded, abducted or killed, according to the aid workers’ database.