Update on Violence in the Western Sahel

Malian army accused of extra judicial killings Latest figures on extra-judicial killings by the Malian and Nigerien armed forces will do nothing to resolve the problem of insecurity in the western Sahel. Instead, they risk exacerbating the growing spiral of violence. Niagalé Bagayoko discusses how to reform national security forces in the Western Sahel As Niagalé Bagayoko explains in this piece for the French news magazine Le Point, it is not only local militias; jihadists and other armed groups that represent a security threat to the populations of the western Sahel; the security forces of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger are also implicated. Violence in the western Sahel: a Peul perspective A significant number of Peuls have joined the Islamist armed groups operating in the western Sahel. This has led to the stigmatisation of the Peul community as a whole and a breakdown of trust between Peul leaders, government authorities and neighbouring communities. The situation is further complicated by the divisions between some Peul leaders and their communities and the fact that Peul communities are themselves far from homogeneous.

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Book Review: English, C. (2017). The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu – The Quest for this Storied City and the Race to Save its Treasures

English, C. (2017). The Book Smugglers of Timbuktu – The Quest for this Storied City and the Race to Save its Treasures. London: William Collins In August 2011 Tuareg fighters returned to Mali from the Libyan conflict, bringing with them weapons and military experience and the prospect of renewed violence in the country. By 2012, with the help of foreign and local militants, Tuareg separatists successfully seized most of Azawad, including the ancient city of Timbuktu. While the Malian government sought to regain control of the region, scholars in Timbuktu turned their thoughts to the thousands of historical archives held in the city and the risk that this insurrection posed to the security of these documents. Charlie English, a British journalist for The Guardian and member of the Royal Geographical Society with a long-standing fascination with Africa recounts the tale of how these archives were smuggled out of Timbuktu under the noses of the separatists and Islamists that had seized control of the region. Not only does English tell the story of how these archives were moved following the destruction of many of the city’s sacred monuments, but also interweaves his narrative with the stories of nineteenth-century European colonial explorers. […]

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