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Services cut at Malian refugee camp after looting

September 9, 2013

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — An official with the United Nations refugee agency says food distribution and other services have been temporarily halted at a Mauritania camp housing 70,000 Malian refugees after more than 15 tons of food and other supplies were looted.

Elise Villechalane said Monday that last week’s looting at Mberra camp occurred in the middle of a distribution cycle, leaving 16,000 people without rations. Camp officials are currently providing only “life-saving” health and water services.

The camp is composed mostly of Arab and Tuareg refugees.

Tensions have long flared at the camp over how supplies are distributed, with U.N. workers wanting to target vulnerable refugees and community leaders wanting to control distribution. Villechalane noted, though, that it was unclear whether refugees or outsiders had been involved in the looting last week.

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