Mali, two Red Cross volunteers kidnapped

Two employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were kidnapped in Mali. The Malian branch of the NGO wrote on Twitter: “We confirm the kidnapping of two of our colleagues this morning between Gao and Kidal,” says the ICRC. “Present in Mali for 32 years, the ICRC is a neutral, independent and impartial organization. We ask not to speculate on this incident so as not to make its resolution more difficult,” he added. Aminata Alassane, ICRC spokeswoman in Mali, confirmed the kidnapping: “The ICRC deplores the incident and demands the release of its staff,” she said. In May, gunmen abducted three Italians and a Togolese national in southeast Mali.

The situation in Mali

Mali is in the midst of a security crisis, triggered by a regional uprising in the north that has turned into a jihadist insurgency. Since 2012 the violence in the Sahelian country has been carried out by jihadists linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, but also by self-proclaimed militias and bandits. The unrest has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger. Thousands of civilians, police and military have been killed in the region and more than two million people have fled their homes. In Burkina Faso, an American nun kidnapped by jihadists last April was released in August. In February, a World Health Organization (WHO) doctor who was kidnapped in late January in Mali was released.