On Wednesday, a suicide bomber attacked a United Nations Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) camp on the outskirts of Ansongo town. Three civilians—two children and one adult—were killed, and 16 were wounded, most of them UN peacekeepers. A Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) team was immediately deployed to the area, sending five wounded children to the Ansongo referral hospital, where the organization has been working since 2012.
Due to the severity of the wounds, one child was referred to the hospital in Gao, the regional capital. The other four are being treated for trauma wounds in Ansongo. "As an emergency organization our priority is to respond as quick as possible to this kind of event, as we know that civilians are too often caught between clashes of different armed groups in the North of Mali," says Côme Niyongabo, MSF head of mission in Mali.
MSF has been working in the Gao region since November 2012, providing medical care to populations affected by the armed conflict. In 2014, MSF concentrated its activities in Ansongo referral hospital and in several health initiatives in the communities. The organization also collaborated to ensure screening for child malnutrition and seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) in Gao region. More than 40,000 children received anti-malarials to guard against the disease through the malaria peak season.