Senior Andean Correspondent
Pat's Feed
May 14, 2015

Mali rebels sign initial deal, see more work for final accord

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Mali’s Tuareg-led rebels signed a preliminary peace agreement with the government on Thursday as a gesture of “good faith” to end decades of separatist fighting, but wanted more guarantees before signing a final accord.

Mali’s government accepted the U.N. and Algerian-backed deal in March, but the Tuareg-led coalition argued that it fell short of their demands for the northern region, which they call Azawad, and sporadic fighting has continued.

Apr 8, 2015

After Bardo attack, Tunisia treads line between security and freedoms

TUNIS (Reuters) – Soon after Islamist militants gunned down 21 foreign tourists in Tunisia’s Bardo museum last month, newspaper columnists, radio hosts and politicians swiftly called for a merciless crackdown to save their young democracy.

In the cafes and mosques of working-class Tunis, fears are now emerging that a campaign against militants may a spiral into repression like the old days of Tunisia’s police state before the freedoms won in a 2011 revolt.

Mar 26, 2015

Tunisia signals local al Qaeda links to Bardo museum attack

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia said on Thursday that an attack on a Tunis museum last week was launched by a cell of 23 militants, including an Algerian and Moroccans, with overlapping allegiances to a number of hardline islamist groups.

Tunisian Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli said 80 percent of the group had already been arrested over the killing of 20 tourists including Japanese, French and Italians in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Mar 24, 2015

Tunisia’s Bardo museum in symbolic reopening and march after attacks

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s Bardo museum held a ceremonial reopening on Tuesday a week after gunmen claiming alliance with Islamic State killed 20 foreign tourists in an attack aimed at wrecking the country’s vital tourism industry.

Several thousand Tunisians and foreign visitors to an international forum also marched in the capital Tunis to show solidarity with the Bardo victims who included Japanese, Spanish, Italians and Colombians.

Mar 23, 2015

In Tunisia’s tourist heartland, anxious wait after attack

YASMIN HAMMAMET, Tunisia, March 23 (Reuters) – The European
visitors strolling Tunisia’s Hammamet resort are an encouraging
sign for a government determined to minimise the fallout of last
week’s shooting of 20 tourists in the nearby capital.

But there is anxiety about the future in the five-star
hotels, trinket shops and restaurants in the town, where
horse-drawn carts trot calmly in the Mediterranean sun.

Mar 22, 2015

North Africa jihadi front spreads to Arab Spring cradle Tunisia

TUNIS (Reuters) – Praised as a model of Arab Spring progress, Tunisia has finally been drawn onto the global jihadi battlefield after Islamist militants gunned down foreign tourists in a brazen assault at the heart of the capital.

The storming of the Bardo museum inside the heavily guarded parliament compound was more deadly evidence Islamist militants are turning to North Africa as a new front beyond their main battlegrounds in Iraq and Syria.

Mar 1, 2015

Mali signs peace deal, rebels want more time for consultation

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Mali’s government signed a preliminary peace deal on Sunday meant to end fighting with northern separatists, but the Tuareg-led rebels asked for more time for consultations before agreeing to the accord.

The United Nations-brokered deal seeks to tackle decades of uprisings and instability in northern Mali, where Western and regional powers worry Islamist militants could return two years after French military intervention drove them out.

Feb 19, 2015

Mali, Tuareg-led rebels agree to cease hostilities for peace talks

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Mali’s government and an alliance of Tuareg-led northern rebels agreed to cease hostilities on Thursday to ease tensions during U.N.-sponsored peace negotiations aimed at ending decades of uprisings.

The talks hosted by Algiers, the fifth round of recent negotiations, must now turn to the tricky questions over identity, a form of limited self-rule and more rights for the northern desert region the rebels call Azawad.

Feb 18, 2015

Islamic State lays claim to North African outpost

ALGIERS/CAIRO (Reuters) – The images match the worst of Islamic State’s atrocities: black-clad fighters and an English-speaking jihadist taunt the West before slaughtering their victims in orange jumpsuits on a Libyan beach.

Their masked leader turns to the Mediterranean and points a bloodied knife towards Europe, declaring, “We will conquer Rome, God willing.”

Feb 16, 2015

Mali peace talks resume in Algiers, no end to hostilities

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Mali’s government and Tuareg-led rebels resumed U.N.-sponsored peace talks in Algeria on Monday in pursuit of an accord to end uprisings by separatists seeking more self-rule for the northern region they call Azawad.

Decades of mistrust and recent intensified fighting between rebels and government-allied militias have complicated attempts to reach a comprehensive deal on Mali’s desert north.

    • About Pat

      "Patrick Markey is the Senior Andean Correspondent for Reuters, based in Bogota, Colombia. For the last nine years he has covered and helped manage coverage across the Andean region, including Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. He has also reported on top stories across Latin America, including more recently the Honduras coup and Haiti's earthquake."
    • Follow Pat