West and Central Africa Correspondent
David's Feed
Jul 29, 2013

Mali counts votes, cheered by high turnout in presidential race

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Mali cheered the robust turnout and lack of violence in its high-stakes election on Monday as proof Malians were eager to turn the page on more than a year of turmoil, war and an army coup.

Election officials were still counting ballots on Monday and results were not expected until Tuesday, but local newspapers lauded the vote, with state-run L’Essor saying the turnout was “exceptional”.

Jul 28, 2013

Malians flock to vote in bid to rebuild broken nation

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Ballot counting began in Mali after voters turned out in large numbers on Sunday for a presidential election they hope will provide a fresh start for the West African nation after more than a year of turmoil, war and an army coup.

Polling ended at 12.00 p.m. ET and, as night fell, officials started tallying results. Election officials at a school in Bamako used electric lamps to check ballot papers for thumbprints and witnesses sat at wooden students’ desks jotting down results using mobile phones for light.

Jul 28, 2013

Malians vote in ‘fresh start’ election

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Malians voted on Sunday in a presidential election it is hoped will provide a fresh start for the West African nation after more than a year of turmoil, war and an army coup.

Candidates wound up campaigns promising reconstruction and reconciliation. But, underscoring security fears despite a successful French offensive against al Qaeda-linked fighters, an Islamist group threatened to attack polling stations.

Jul 28, 2013

Mali heads to polls for ‘fresh start’ vote

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Voters in Mali headed to the polls on Sunday in a presidential election it is hoped will they provide a fresh start to a country divided by a coup and a war in its desert north.

Candidates wound up campaigns promising reconstruction and reconciliation but, underscoring security fears despite a successful French offensive against al Qaeda-linked fighters, an Islamist group threatened to attack polling stations.

Jul 28, 2013

Mali scrambles to be ready for Sunday’s ‘fresh start’ vote

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Malian election officials scrambled to distribute voting material for an election on Sunday intended to provide a fresh start to a country divided by a coup and a war in its desert north.

Candidates wound up campaigns promising reconstruction and reconciliation but, underscoring security fears despite a successful French offensive against al Qaeda-linked fighters, an Islamist group threatened to attack polling stations.

Jul 25, 2013

Election offers new start for Mali, but no magic wand

BAMAKO (Reuters) – When Mali imploded last year – its president ousted by mutinous soldiers and its north seized by separatist and Islamist rebels – many called for an overhaul of the West African state’s flawed democracy, once held up as a model of stability.

Sunday’s presidential election in the Sahel state, which experienced turmoil and conflict for over a year, including a French-led military intervention from January, provides the chance for a fresh start to rebuild and unite the nation.

Jul 24, 2013

How U.S. drug sting targeted West African military chiefs

DAKAR (Reuters) – It was late afternoon as the speedboat cut across the waters off West Africa for its rendezvous with guns and drugs.

Behind lay the steamy shore of Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Ahead lay the Al Saheli, a luxurious 115-foot white motor yacht with tinted black windows.

Jul 24, 2013

Special Report: How U.S. drug sting targeted West African military chiefs

DAKAR (Reuters) – It was late afternoon as the speedboat cut across the waters off West Africa for its rendezvous with guns and drugs.

Behind lay the steamy shore of Guinea-Bissau, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Ahead lay the Al Saheli, a luxurious 115-foot white motor yacht with tinted black windows.

Jul 12, 2013

Mali’s rush to post-war election raises fears of further strife

DAKAR/GAO, Mali (Reuters) – Mali’s presidential hopefuls kicked off campaigning this week for a July 28 election intended to draw a line under a coup and an Islamist uprising, despite concerns that a rushed poll may sow the seeds of future strife.

France, which sent 3,000 troops to Mali in January to halt an offensive by al Qaeda-linked Islamists, has pressed hard for a July poll, eager to see an elected government in place to negotiate with Tuareg rebels in the north and to reform a dysfunctional state that imploded last year.

May 31, 2013

Insight: Libya becomes ‘the new Mali’ as Islamists shift in Sahara

BAMAKO (Reuters) – Suicide attacks on a French-run mine and a military base in northern Niger have shown how an Islamist threat is spreading across the weak nations of the Sahara, meaning France may be tied down there for years to come.

Regional rivalries are aggravating the problem for Paris and its Western allies, with a lack of cooperation between Saharan countries helping militants to melt away when they come under pressure and regroup in quieter parts of the vast desert.