West and Central Africa Correspondent
David's Feed
Sep 11, 2012

Locusts threaten African Sahel food supply next year

DAKAR (Reuters) – Locusts nesting in northern Mali and Niger threaten next year’s food crop, the U.N.’s top aid official in the region said, after donors and governments across Africa’s Sahel zone have contained a crisis caused by shortages this year.

Rains falling across the Sahel bode well for a healthy 2013 harvest but the pests, due to start moving across the region within weeks, add to long-term problems like high food prices and low production which must be tackled to end cyclical crises, David Gressly told Reuters in an interview.

Sep 6, 2012

Guinea blocks arms shipment to Mali as distrust grows

DAKAR/CONAKRY (Reuters) – Guinea has blocked a shipment of heavy weapons to Mali fearing they could end up in the wrong hands, Guinean and regional diplomats said on Thursday, a further sign of distrust between regional powers and Mali’s former junta.

The weeks-long weapons stand-off underscores a deep regional crisis as Mali’s neighbors and Western nations fear a new global security threat but are struggling to respond to it.

Jul 26, 2012

Al Qaeda’s richest faction dominant in north Mali: U.S.

DAKAR (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s affiliate in North Africa is the militant organization’s richest faction and the dominant Islamist force among those controlling northern Mali, the head of the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) said on Thursday.

General Carter Ham said the international community and the Malian government now faced a complex challenge to try to deal with the strengthened presence in Mali’s largely desert north of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the militant group’s North African franchise.

Jul 21, 2012

U.S. cuts military aid to Rwanda over Congo

ABIDJAN/DAKAR (Reuters) – The United States said on Saturday it would cut military aid to Rwanda for this year because of evidence by U.N. experts that Kigali was supporting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The U.S. decision was widely seen as a significant shift in policy because Washington has stood by Rwanda in the past despite the tiny nation’s long history of involvement in wars in vast neighbouring Congo.

Jul 17, 2012

Fix Mali political crisis before taking on rebels-ICG

DAKAR, July 18 (Reuters) – Any efforts to tackle the crisis
in Mali must focus on rebuilding a central state authority
before trying to recapture northern desert zones now mainly in
the hands of al Qaeda-linked Islamists, the International Crisis
Group said.

Foreign powers should resist mounting pressure for a
military operation to tackle the north as any such move
underestimated the complexity of the situation and risked
fomenting “terrorism” and ethnic conflict, the think tank warned
in a report released on Wednesday.

Jul 12, 2012

Military intervention in Mali “probable” – French formin

PARIS/DAKAR (Reuters) – Foreign powers will probably intervene militarily in Mali after al-Qaeda-linked militants took control of territory in the north of the West African country, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday.

Regional and Western governments have compared the situation in Mali to Afghanistan, as a mix of local and foreign Islamists have hijacked a rebellion initially launched in January by secular Tuareg separatist rebels.

Jul 12, 2012

Military intervention in Mali “probable”: French foreign minister

PARIS/DAKAR (Reuters) – Foreign powers will probably intervene militarily in Mali after al-Qaeda-linked militants took control of territory in the north of the West African country, France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday.

Regional and Western governments have compared the situation in Mali to Afghanistan, as a mix of local and foreign Islamists have hijacked a rebellion initially launched in January by secular Tuareg separatist rebels.

Jul 12, 2012

Mali to seek ICC probe into rebel crimes in north

DAKAR (Reuters) – Mali plans to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate killings, rapes, torture, and attacks on cultural sites in its rebel-controlled north, the country’s justice minister said on Thursday.

Justice Minister Malick Coulibaly did not say when the request would be lodged, but RFI, the French radio station that interviewed him, said a Malian government delegation would go to The Hague-based court to file the request in the coming days.

Jun 21, 2012

Dakar glamour show rides wave of African fashion

DAKAR, June 21 (Reuters) – When Adama Ndiaye quit banking in
Europe for life as a young clothes designer back home in
Senegal, there was no show in town at which she could show off
her wares. So she decided to put on one of her own.

“We offered a ticket, we were renting boats, we were renting
camels,” she said, explaining how she lured other designers to
the dusty, vibrant city of Dakar jutting out into the Atlantic
Ocean. “It was one day of shows and three days of fun.”

Jun 4, 2012

Analysis: Mali: the world’s next jihadi launchpad?

DAKAR (Reuters) – When Mali’s Tuareg nomads launched a rebellion in January, many in Africa thought it would be just the latest in a long line of desert uprisings to be swiftly placated with offers of cash and jobs.

Some optimists mused that the indigo-turbaned northerners might even take on the local arm of al Qaeda, which was plying a disruptive trade in Western hostages and trafficked goods.