Mali’s Tuaregs Flee to Mauritania to Escape Military Clashes

More than 10,000 people from Mali fled into Mauritania after fighting between the Malian military and a separatist group, an official from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.

Refugees, members of the Tuareg nomadic tribe, were given rations and sanitary kits and about 1,200 tents will be sent to the region, Nada Merehb, the UNHCR’s representative in Nouakchott, Mauritania’s capital, said in a statement read on national television today. Mauritania’s government is providing medicine and drinking water, Merehb said.

Mali’s army killed at least 45 fighters from the Azawad National Liberation Movement in clashes on Jan. 18, according to the government. The group is demanding autonomous rule for a large section of northern Mali, including the area around the city of Timbuktu.

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