After a third robbery of the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) compound in Kidal, Mali on the night of 26 June and an attempted break-in of MSF’s warehouse on Saturday 24 June, the organisation has suspended all its activities in the region. In Kidal, MSF has assisted people living in and around the town, by supporting several health centres with medicine and staff, undertaking mobile clinics in remote areas and supporting a referral system for severe cases.
“Considering that this is the third such robbery in a little over a month, and that a violent robbery was recently attempted at our warehouse in Kidal, we are forced to suspend all our activities until the safety situation improves. This is a difficult decision to make as humanitarian aid remains absolutely essential in the Kidal region and MSF is one of the few organisations present on the ground,” explains Mari Carmen Viñoles, MSF’s programme manager for the Sahel region.
“We remain committed to the people of Kidal and we call on the local authorities to ensure a safe working environment for humanitarian organisations and medical mission so that we can resume our activities.”
Insecurity is a general problem in the Kidal region and similar incidents have affected several NGOs over the past few months. In addition, criminals act with total impunity since none of the last robberies have been solved. This type of criminal act seriously undermines assistance to those in need.
MSF has been present in the Kidal region since 2015, ensuring access to basic health care in several health areas. In 2016, the organisation carried out 19,052 curative consultations and 3,370 prenatal consultations, assisted 149 deliveries, and vaccinated 13,882 children aged between six months and 15 years against measles. In 2016, 16,633 children aged from three to 59 months were also given preventive malaria treatment.
MSF first worked in Mali in 1992. Today, MSF teams are working in the districts of Ansongo (Gao region), Koutiala (Sikasso region), Tenenkou and Douentza (Mopti region), notably by strengthening the provision of maternal and paediatric care. MSF has just ended its presence in the regional hospital in Timbuktu, which lasted from 2012.