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 completely cut off from the rest of the world.
Above, a bar in the city of Gao that has been closed down. According to Assan Midal, the former governor of this region liked to come here “for a beer”.
Like most of the nightlife venues in this region’s cities, this bar was closed down by the radical Islamists, who advocate the strict application of Sharia (Islamic law), which forbids, among other things, alcohol and tobacco. Ansar Dine’s flag, on which is written “There is no God but God and Mohammed is his prophet”, was hung above the door of the bar.
Ansar Dine fighters have painted the same message on a sign on one of Gao’s busiest roads.

This is a photo of an MNLA soldier in Timbuktu. The MNLA is the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, a secular group fighting for Tuareg independence. Timbuktu is now almost entirely under the control of the Islamists. According to reports by the French news agency AFP, on Wednesday 23 May these soldiers destroyed the Martyrs’ Monument, a memorial to those who died in the struggle against General Moussa Traoré’s dictatorship in 1991. They also reportedly whipped young people they saw smoking. Tuareg separatist fighters are stationed all around the outskirts of the city.
In Kidal, the community radio station Radio Tisdas now only broadcasts sermons and readings of the Koran.


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a couple of days ago a I posted a comment. you did not post it! I was checking this site several times. anyway. from now on I'll think twice to send a comment. if it gets lost anyway.
a week ago I stated something like:

the islamists undoubtedly represent the avant-garde

the avant-garde of backwardness!
to close down the entire bar. why not only change the drinks? mango, coconut, water, etc.?

is there any university in Northern Mali?
if Islamists come to power, there is apparently not much more than women being harassed, men having to grow beards, thieves losing hands, sheikhs having the right to rape young women, widows being forced to prostitution, young girls being married to men sometimes at least thrice their age, etc.

sometimes I wonder who the judges are to accept those verdicts. in terms of crimes, mutilation and capital punishment, is the crime thoroughly investigated?
in pakistan there have been cases that some people are accused of blasphemy and the accused is sentenced to death and then possibly killed.

if there (in the judicial system) is only need for two or three witnesses presenting their testimony and there is no proper investigation it looks not very difficult to push through the intention of executing someone you don't like.
anyway, maybe in Northern Mali everything will be different. the first accounts from the scene though do not evoke optimism.
hope the touareg MLNA distances itself very fast from the Islamists. not much common ground.