More than 150 children have been killed in attacks in Mali during the first half of 2019 and some 377,000 minors in need of protection, Unicef said Tuesday, noting a “sharp increase in serious violations against children” in the country since the beginning of the year.
Six years after the beginning of a French military intervention against the jihadist groups that had put under their control the north of Mali in 2012, the attacks of groups linked to al-Qaeda or to the Islamic State organization continue, which mingle inter-community conflicts, especially in the center of the country.
“The number of serious violations committed against children in Mali has increased sharply in 2019,” warned in a statement the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
“More than 150 children were killed in the first half of 2019 and 75 were injured in violent attacks. The recruitment and use of children in armed groups have doubled compared to the same period in 2018 and more than 900 schools remain closed due to insecurity, “the statement said.
In an investigative report released last week, the mission of the UN in Mali (Minusma) indicated that 22 children aged one year to 12 years (11 girls and 11 boys) were among the 35 people killed when 9 June attack on the Dogon village of Sobane Da, most of whom were burned or suffocated in their homes.
“Mutilation of children, sexual violence, psychological trauma, …
“As violence spreads in Mali, children are at increasing risk of being killed, injured and recruited into armed groups,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, quoted in the statement. communicated.
The increased number of attacks in the center has also resulted in the “mutilation of children, their displacement and separation from their families, as well as their exposure to sexual violence and psychological trauma,” according to Unicef.
“It is estimated that more than 377,000 children currently need protection assistance in Mali,” said the UN agency , noting that it would need four million dollars in 2019 to meet protection needs of women and children in Mali.