WHO Doctor Freed in Mali




Dakar, Senegal — A World Health Organization doctor abducted in Mali has been freed, authorities told Agence France-Presse 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 said.

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

Motives range from ransom demands to acts of reprisal.

The WHO doctor, who has worked for the organization 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, the doctor 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.