A Timbuktu resident’s lament: “The radical Islamists are destroying our culture”

Radical Islamists, who took control of Timbuktu in April, have been relentlessly destroying the tombs of Sufi saints, which are the pride of this pious city’s residents. One of our Observers there told us he feels helpless and powerless against the disappearance of ancestral symbols of his culture, which the Islamists consider to be idolatrous. Read more...

Exclusive images from northern Mali: Gao’s youth side with Islamists

FRANCE 24 has been sent exclusive images of a youth protest in Gao, in northern Mali, which took place late last month. A large group of young people went out to protest against the separatist, Tuareg-led National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). Organised by a resistance group called “We’re not moving”, the June 26 march was joined by Islamist fighters from the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA). Read more...

Photos of slaughterhouse waste dumped in Niger River emerge amid northern Mali cholera scare

At least 28 cases of cholera were recently identified in the northern Malian village of Wabaria, just outside the city of Gao. Our Observer visited a slaughterhouse in the area where he saw waste dumped directly into the Niger River. He says the practice is an example of the deteriorating health and safety standards in the region since it was taken over by Islamist and Tuareg-led separatists more than three months ago. Read more…

Fearing Islamist attacks, Gao’s residents guard historic religious sites

After Islamist forces destroyed a number of historic mausoleums in the northern Malian city of Timbuktu, residents in the town of Gao have taken to standing guard outside of their own religious monuments. Our Observer describes how life in Gao has changed since Islamists took control of the region, amid fears that the city’s historic and spiritual sites could be next to come under attack. Read more…

Backed by popular support, Mali’s Islamists drive Tuareg from Gao

In what was a violent end to a three-month power-sharing arrangement, Mali’s radical Islamists have driven their former allies, Tuareg-led separatist group MNLA, out of the country’s northern city of Gao. Although communication in and out of the area is increasingly difficult, our Observer on the ground tells us that the Islamists have not only won a military victory but also the support of the people. Read more…

Video shows Malian soldiers treated with extreme violence in detention camp

The video shows men tied up in the back of a truck and dragged half-naked on the ground. This disturbing footage was shot in the military camp of Kati, near the Malian capital Bamako. The camp served as the headquarters of the junta that deposed president Amadou Toumani Touré in March. Soldiers and officers loyal to Touré have been detained at this camp for the past two months. The scene is extremely brutal, and proves that loyalist soldiers (“red berets”) have been treated violently while in detention. Read more…

Swarm of locusts threaten crops in post-Gaddafi Africa

One of the immediately obvious consequences of the ousting of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was the large number of weapons that went missing in Libya, many of which ended up in neighbouring countries. However that’s not the only way his downfall affected the region. Another, more surprising, consequence is now becoming apparent: it has caused a mass influx of desert locusts into the Sahel desert, which spans eight countries, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Read more...

Exclusive: Tuareg rebels in Mali talk tactics and weaponry

The Tuareg separatists who, along with radical Islamist groups, have taken control of northern Mali are preparing for the possibility of a counter-attack by the Malian army. One of our Observers, who recently travelled to the northern city of Gao, was able to photograph these separatists posing proudly with their military arsenal. One of their commanders agreed to tell us about how he and his men are getting ready to fight. Read more and see photos...

Photos of life in northern Mali under radical Islamists’ control

One of our Observers, Assan Midal, spent several weeks travelling around northern Mali, which is currently under the control of radical Islamist militant group Ansar Dine and Tuareg forces fighting for independence. These photos show a region that is completely cut off from the rest of the world.