08/29/2023 Mali (International Christian Concern) – Islamic militants have maintained a blockade on the ancient city of Timbuktu in Mali for more than two weeks.
The blockade, which was set up by a local militant group affiliated with al-Qaeda, has created food shortages in the city and significantly hindering locals’ access to humanitarian aid.
Timbuktu has suffered from violence ever French forces attempted to liberate the city from militants in 2013, according to VOA news. The unrest is perpetuated by local groups affiliated with both al Qaeda and the Islamic State. It escalated after the country’s military leaders forced out French troops and partnered with a Russian private military contractor.
The U.N. humanitarian agency said last week that aid workers could not reach the city by the river and health centers risked running out of medicine. One Timbuktu resident said the militants had halted necessities such as fuel, flour, couscous, and milk.
It is unclear why the militant group initiated the blockade. Some believe it’s meant to pressure residents who are allegedly helping the Malian army.
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