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    Posted January 15, 2013 by
    Segou, Mali
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    The day we were dreading


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Aid worker TerryAlly from Plan International posted this blog from his Malian colleague, Bocoum Mamadou, who is currently in Segou, just north east of the capital, Bamako. Mali is currently battling an Islamist insurgency in the north that has led to the deployment of French troops and the displacement of civilians. The image shows Malians who have been forced to flee the fighting arriving in Segou a few days ago. "Bocoum is concerned about his family but feels responsibility also for the people in Segou," he says. Plan, which has more than 130 staff in the country, says it is working on providing those displaced from the north by the fighting with food, essential items and educational tools for children. Meanwhile, France has said it is planning to increase the number of troops in the country as a combined force from the African Union is also being prepared.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    Written by Bocoum Mamadou
    Plan International Programme Unit Manager in Ségou, Mali

    Since the conflict first broke out in 2012 we were expecting this day when the battle would come too close for comfort but it still took us by surprise.

    I work around the clock but I don’t mind really because as an aid worker I am concerned for all those around me. People come up to me on the street. They know I am from Plan Mali they trust me and think I can help. They ask for food, they are worried, they are exhausted and I feel so badly for not being able to help all of them.

    I am touched by the situation of the people I meet. Since the beginning of the new conflict, I have hardly slept. I wake up early and get on my motorbike that I hired to move quickly around Ségou to gather the latest information. I meet local authorities and local NGOs to assess the situation. I make sure that I have all the necessary information to reassure people when they come to me.

    I have been personally helping many people around me over the past days, helping to carry luggage, to move furniture and so on. I can relate to the anguish of the displaced.

    I am Malian myself. I am originally from Mopti. And right now I have loved ones I have not heard from over the last couple of days. But I know I have to stay strong and pray that everything is OK for them. I have to stay strong to concentrate on what I am doing here bring a smile and relief whenever possible. I hope everyone out there will commit to help because there are real needs here.
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