Everything is peaceful
in our region of Mali. Our work this year has been steaming
ahead with work on land management and livelihoods improvement
schemes for marginal farmers and cattle-herders, as well
as repairing wells, tree regeneration, and new microcredit
schemes for women. We are working on new cattle-health
improvement schemes and environmental work in new districts
as well as dune stabilisation.
Release of French hostages in Niger
We are extremely concerned about the reports that 20m
euros may have been paid to Al Qaeda-linked terrorist
groups for the recent release of French hostages in Niger.
Ransom payments which have allowed terrorist groups to
develop have been key to destabilisation in northern Mali
last year. Although terrorist groups are no longer in
control, they are still present in northern Mali as well
as in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Niger, Tunisia and SW
Libya and are simply waiting for other opportunities.
A large input of
funds to these groups is likely to be disastrous to the
stability of the poorest people's lives in Mali and neighbouring
countries as well as causing more kidnappings.