Filling in the blanks: Students map Niger using GPS

For the past year, a group of university students in Niger have spent most of their free time mapping their country using GPS technology. And in a country with very limited Internet access, creating a digital map is no little task. 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...

Eyewitness report offers rare insight into critical situation of Malian refugees in Niger

The ongoing fighting between the Malian army and Tuareg rebels has forced refugees to flee the country en masse and seek refuge in neighbouring countries. Our Observer went to see a group of refugees in the town of Mangaize, in northern Niger. What he found was a dire humanitarian crisis, far away from the media spotlight. Read more…

Escalating violence forces refugee nomads to flee Libya

The political crisis unfolding in Libya has forced millions of foreigners to flee the country. Most foreigners in Libya jump on the first flight out, but for Tuaregs, a nomadic tribe of the Sahara desert, ‘repatriation’ is much more complicated matter. Read more…

Niger nomad speaks out: "We are not terrorists!"

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi) claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of seven people in Niger on September 16 - five French, one Togolese and one Malagasy. However, Tauregs – a Niger nomadic tribe - who live in the region have been accused of being part of the plot, a charge they strongly deny.  Read more…


Niamey arrests: crime crackdown or a newborn junta flexing its muscles?

Over 600 people were arrested in the Niger capital on Sunday night. The junta called it "Operation Punch" - a crackdown on crime. One of our Observers in the country thinks it's got more to do with politics. Read his comment...


Areva, Sarkozy, and the Niger crisis: “No coincidence”

Niger President Mamdou Tandja dissolved the country's constitutional court on Tuesday, removing yet another obstacle to his plans to stand once more for the presidency, in defiance of a constitutional ban.

Two months earlier, Niger's government granted French state-owned nuclear giant Areva a crucial uranium contract. Coincidental timing? Although France has condemned Tandja's actions, a specialist on the subject tells us that there's still cause for concern.

UPDATE (3 July 09 - 11am Paris time): Areva has responded to Daniel's comment. Read the statement.