WHO Doctor Abducted By Unidentified Assailants In Eastern Mali’s Menaka Town
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said in a statement that some unidentified assailants abducted a doctor working for the U.N. health agency in the town of Menaka, in eastern Mali, on Monday, reported The UN News.
According to the statement, Dr Mahamadou Diawara was abducted from his car on Monday in the Menaka town. The driver of his car was also attacked, but not abducted, and was said to be recovering from the incident.
In a tweet posted on Tuesday, the WHO Director- General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the health agency was working with local authorities to investigate the abduction of Dr. Diawara, who had worked for the agency in the town for around three years, to ensure his quick return to his family.
Notably, Diawara was sent to Menaka at the start of 2020. He has been leading efforts there to provide medical care to remote communities at risk of insecurity and violence.
The kidnapping of the WHO doctor comes two months after a German priest was taken from Mali’s capital, Bamako.
The West African nation has been battling a decade-long jihadi insurgency that has killed thousands. Militant groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group have seized swathes of territory across the Sahel, a categorisation used for a group of countries comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
Thousands of people have been killed and close to 2 million people have been displaced, despite international efforts to control the violent activities.
After the military leaders currently in power staged their 2020 coup, relations with France quickly broke down and Russia has stepped in to fill the void.
In November last year, France and the UK decided to end their troop deployments with the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), six months earlier than planned.
In August last year, Germany, too, halted troops’ deployment. And earlier in March, Sweden that announced it would be leaving the MINUSMA mission altogether.
The WHO said that the motive for the abduction currently remains unclear.