Resilience in Ménaka.. Relief Arrives Despite Adversity

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
3 Min Read

The city of Ménaka recently welcomed a significant convoy of goods on Monday, February 26th. Despite being under blockade by the Islamic State in the Sahel (ISIS), the arrival of these essential supplies has brought much-needed relief to the population, as basic commodities have been scarce and prices have soared. Escorted by the Malian army, a total of 16 civilian trucks entered the city.

Moussa ag Acharatoumane, the community leader of the Daoussak Touareg faction in Ménaka and also the head of the Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), a local armed group collaborating with the army to secure the city, explained that these trucks departed from Gao and traveled through Ansongo to reach Ménaka via National Road 20. Recently, this route has been obstructed by ISIS terrorists, hindering the supply of essential goods to the city.

The jihadists of ISIS dominate the entire Ménaka region, exerting their control over the arrival of goods from Gao and neighboring Niger. Although the rival Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), affiliated with Al-Qaeda, is not present in the region, they have blocked the route from Kidal and Algeria for the past five months. Additionally, the CSP rebels declared a blockade on Ménaka at the end of December. Although not present in the area, CSP fighters can block access routes upstream from the Kidal region.

Of the 16 trucks that arrived on Monday, 10 were loaded with humanitarian aid, while the remaining six carried goods for the local merchants in Ménaka, including essential items such as milk, semolina, flour, and oil. These products had been scarce in the shops and markets of Ménaka recently, making the convoy’s arrival a significant relief, particularly with Ramadan approaching.

Earlier in the month, three aircraft loaded with humanitarian aid provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations successfully landed in Ménaka, marking the first such delivery since the end of December. This aid notably included medical supplies. Several ministers subsequently visited the city to reassure its inhabitants of their support. Additionally, two weeks ago, the army secured the first terrestrial convoy transporting rice supplies provided by the transitional authorities, which were distributed in several localities across the region.

These efforts have provided at least temporary relief to the residents of Ménaka and the tens of thousands of displaced individuals who have sought refuge in the city in recent months.


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