05 Feb 2023, 11:22

WHO doctor freed in Mali

DAKAR, Feb 5, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - A World Health Organization doctor abducted
in Mali has been freed, local authorities told AFP on Saturday.

"Diawara Mahamadou, a WHO support doctor with the regional health directorate
in Menaka, was released on February 2," said a health official in the town of
Menaka in northern Mali. "He is doing well."

A regional official said the WHO medic had been freed not far from Gao city,
further west. "He told us he was not mistreated," he said.

It was unclear who had taken the doctor hostage, he added.

Since 2012, Mali has been in the grip of a serious security crisis and
violence, including kidnappings of foreigners and Malians, is common.

Motives range from ransom demands to acts of reprisal.

Doctor Diawara, who has worked for the WHO in Menaka since early 2020,
providing medical care to often isolated communities at risk of insecurity
and violence.

In October 2022, the WHO quoted the surgeon as saying: "A patient is a
patient... Our job is to go where people are and need health care."

After several years in Gao, also in eastern Mali, Diawara asked to be
assigned to Menaka, near the border with Niger, where more than 25,500
displaced Malians lived as of last October.

They were located across six sites in precarious conditions and with limited
access to health care.

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