The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that more than 5000 Malian refugees have arrived in Mauritania alone since January 11, when France launched a war on Mali under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters in the country.
In addition to Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger are also providing the displaced Malians with shelter.
Meanwhile, the UN agency said aid is needed to prevent what it calls the worsening of the now acutely fragile humanitarian situation across the Sahel region.
It highlighted that almost 380,000 people have fled their homes to seek safety both inside and outside Mali.
On January 18, UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming warned that “in the near future there could be up to 300,000 people additionally displaced inside Mali, and over 400,000 additionally displaced in the neighboring countries.”
The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have voiced support for the French war on Mali.
France has also imposed media restrictions on the developments on the ground with the help of the Malian army, which human rights groups say has committed ‘serious abuses.’
Some political analysts believe that Mali’s abandoned natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French war.
Chaos broke out in the African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said the move was in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country.’