Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday underscored the deterioration of security situation in central Mali and urged strengthened response.

At a Security Council meeting on Mali, Guterres warned terrorist groups and militias are gaining ground and becoming more dynamic and mobile in the region.

He cautioned the rise of extremist movements was exacerbating old inter-communal tensions between ethnic groups for access to land and water, and that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and the acquisition of weapons by ethnic self-defense groups had led to an increase in violence against civilians.

More than 240 attacks were carried out against civilians, Malian government officials and members of national and international forces in 2018, compared with 183 in 2016, according to the United Nations.

The number of displaced people, which was 40,000 a year ago, stood at 123,000 in February. Cases of improvised explosive device use in central Mali more than tripled, from 29 in 2017 to almost 100 in 2018, UN statistics showed. A total of 18 peacekeepers from Chad, Guinea and Sri Lanka have lost their lives in Mali in the past 18 months.

Guterres stressed as extremists expand their activities and use increasingly sophisticated weapons, Malian and international forces must respond promptly and strengthen their response. Enditem

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