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Malians holding demonstrations on their streets/FILE

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MSF urges access to embattled Konna in Mali

Malians holding demonstrations on their streets/FILE

Malians holding demonstrations on their streets/FILE

French aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres said it had been denied access to Mali’s embattled central town of Konna and urged authorities to allow it to deliver medical aid.

“Despite our repeated requests, we are still being denied access to the Konna region,” MSF operations director Malik Allaouna said in a statement issued late Thursday.

“It is essential to allow the delivery of medical and humanitarian aid, which is neutral and impartial, to the areas affected by the conflict.

“We call on all parties to the conflict to not only respect civilian populations but also the work of humanitarian organisations,” it said.

Mali’s military said Friday it had retaken Konna amid heavy fighting with Islamist rebels who have seized the north of the country.

The rebels’ taking of Konna, about 700 kilometres (435 miles) northeast of the capital Bamako, prompted fears of the militants moving south and led to a French military intervention.

“Since the start of the offensive by Malian and French forces, we have not been able to cross the frontlines despite our neutrality. Entire regions are now cut off from external aid.”

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