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Cholera outbreak adds insult to injury in northern Mali

ICRC offering humanitarian assistance in MaliICRC offering humanitarian assistance in Mali (Photo: icrc.org)
July 6, 2012

In the wake of worsening insecurity in rebel occupied northern Mali, a cholera outbreak in an area some 20 kilometers from the city of Gao, while the UN Security Council has refused to support an ECOWAS intervention force.

The cholera outbreak has hit the village of Wabaria, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), one of very few aid agencies having access to northern Mali and two persons have so far died from the disease.

Thirty five cases have been recorded since Monday but the ICRC says the situation is under control.

An analyst has said that given the serious humanitarian situation existing in that region, the possibility of the cholera outbreak spreading to other towns cannot be ruled out.

But an ICRC official, Germain Mwehu has told West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) that the conflict has in no way contributed to the cholera outbreak.

Germain Mwehu, ICRC communication officer for Mali and Niger talks to WADR’s Elisabeth-Laure Njipwo.  

Click audio below to listen

MNLA rebels, joined by Al-Qaeda linked Ansar Dine and MUJAO Islamists groups, captured the northern Malian cities of Kidal, Gao and Timbucktu last April, following the military coup in March that ousted former President Amadou Toumani Toure in the capital, Bamako.

Although the Security Council turned down an ECOWAS request to back a 3,000-strong intervention force in northern Mali, the UN condemned the Islamist rebels’ destruction of ancient shrines in the city of Timbuktu describing it as a war crime. 

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