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Reference : V-P-ML-E-00317
Date : 01/2019
Country/Region : MALI
Caption : Mopti. A 70 year old man poses with his son. He fled his village with his 16 family members 6 months before, after an armed group which surrounded his village beat up his son for cutting wood.
Photographer : ARMSTRONG, Krista
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : The armed group imposed several restrictions on villagers, and while wood was a source of income for many, they forbade people from cutting it as it affected their hiding spaces. After three years of living in increasingly tough restrictions, the old man was worried the next thing they might do would be to kill his son. But beyond the threats, the key turning point was when a village leader laid the blame on his son, who was innocent, to protect his own children. For the old man, that showed how much his village cohesion had been unraveled by the conflict. “I left and I will never go back”, he says. The land used to provide well for them, and he sees its degradation happening in sync with the growing tensions. “Twenty years ago, we had everything we needed. But things have gradually got harder since, water and wells have become scarcer, and the land is producing less. For me, these two things are happening in parallel: on the one hand, man’s behavior has changed, it has worsened. Nature is reflecting this negative development, and producing less.”
The family fled to a suburb of Mopti, where a relative gave them shelter in a hut he was building. But the devastating floods that hit the area last summer destroyed it and forced the old man and his family to move into tents. They are currently surviving from odd jobs and from the few fish they can catch in this part of the Niger River. Their conditions are very difficult, but they feel there is more solidarity here amongst this neighbourhood than in his ancestral village.
Resolution : 4032x3024
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour