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UN humanitarian affairs office concerned over attacks around in north Mali

Xinhua, May 22, 2015 Adjust font size:

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and its partners are concerned that attacks by armed groups and individuals around Timbuktu in northern Mali are forcing people to flee their homes, Farhan Haq, the deputy UN spokesman, said here Thursday.

Humanitarian partners estimate that more than 20,000 people have fled since May 15 to Gourma Rharous, Timbuktu and Goundam, Haq said at a daily news briefing here. "Humanitarian workers are monitoring these new displacements but insecurity is preventing access to some of the areas affected."

Intensified fighting was reported from Timbuktu and other parts of the West African country at the end of April.

Timbuktu and the north of Mali were taken over by rebels allied with jihadist groups in 2012. France intervened in January 2013 and the United Nations began deploying 10,000 peacekeepers in July of that year.

Peace negotiations have been complicated by the rebels' widely differing agendas. They include secessionist Tuaregs, religious extremists and armed militias vying for control of lucrative trafficking routes, reports said. Endite