MALI Nightmares from Diabaly

 Mali
 Emergency Response
 24th Jan 2013

“My house is about a dozen metres from the military camp in Diabaly. This Thursday, at 5 in the morning, we heard gunfire between armed groups and the Malian army, which had rigorously counterattacked against the armed groups in Alatona, at the entrance to the town.

“We heard loud gunshots everywhere, and, tragically, one civilian was killed in the gunfire. I quickly ran to take cover at a friend’s house. I was relieved that my family had already travelled to Markala for the weekend.

“It was total panic everywhere in the town of Diabaly and the population had only one choice: hide in their houses and pray to God.

“I hid for three days in horrible conditions, without any food. The second and third days were particularly nightmarish for me, because, as a worker for a water company, one of the armed groups was looking for me to kill me. According to their philosophy, you are not allowed to sell water.

“Thanks to a source that I would rather not name, I was quickly informed of the situation. I will never stop thanking the population of Diabaly: not only did they refuse to hand me over to the armed group, they disguised me as a woman and helped me flee the town. On my lips were but one sole refrain that came from the bottom of my heart: May God protect us, God is great.

“I walked for 35 kilometres by foot before I came to a place with telephone coverage, and I called a friend in Niono, a town about 60 kilometres away, who came to rescue me by motorbike.

“I arrived exhausted and traumatised by the events that occurred in Diabaly. Now, by the grace of God, my morale is better, and I am asking everyone to immediately come to the aid of the people of Diabaly, particularly with food, because they are in desperate need.”

*The name of the person in this story has been withheld to protect his identity.

About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 84 countries around the world to assist more than 122 million people improve basic health and education, fight hunger, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity, confront climate change, and recover from disasters.

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