New York, US - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Thursday that despite the military progress in Northern Mali, there is still a general sense of insecurity in the area, as most displaced people are afraid to return to their homes.
The Malian government in January asked its former colonial power, France, for help recapture the country's northern territory from rebels.
Subsequently, Malian and French forces have been retaking key cities in the north from the rebels, including al-Qaeda fighters.
However, Jean-Nicolas Marti, the ICRC regional director in Africa, said: “Ongoing fighting is keeping most refugees from returning home'.
“The fact that displaced people are hesitant to go back to their homes is largely attributable to a general sense of not feeling secure and also to the impossibility of generating income amid such instability,' he said in a statement circulated at the UN headquarters in New York.
He also added the insecurity was hampering humanitarian work in northern Mali.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) estimates that 430,000 people have been displaced in Mali since the conflict began.