Mali situation under close watch: UNHCR

March 23rd, 2012 - 11:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Geneva, March 23 (IANS) The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Friday that it has been closely monitoring developments in Mali following the announcement that army soldiers had taken control of the country.

The UNHCR is concerned about continued political uncertainty to create “further population movements” inside and beyond Mali’s borders, it said in a statement.

The UN agency is currently revising its contingency plans to expand its capacity to respond to new influxes in surrounding countries, such as Mauritania and Burkina Faso.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres will visit Mauritania over the next days to assess the situation on the ground, Xinhua reported.

Thousands of people have fled Mali since mid-January, following fighting between a rebel movement and Malian forces in the north of the west African country.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Thursday condemned the mutiny in Mali and called on “those responsible to refrain from any actions that could increase violence and further destabilize the country”.

Mutinous soldiers seized power in Mali after storming the presidential palace and arresting some of the government ministers, a spokesperson for the mutinous soldiers said Thursday.

The National Committee for Redressment of Democracy and Restoration of the State (CNRDR) announced through Malian radio and television Thursday that they had toppled Mali’s President Amadou Toumani Toure.

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