Niger, Mali: Hunger, famine or both

Kidal Region dead herds

Hopefully by now everyone knows that parts of West Africa, especially pockets of Chad and Niger, are struggling with the worst food shortages since 2005. Alex Thurston reports that international humanitarian agencies, as well as increasingly concerned governments, are now…

Niger: Innovative reforms amid famine

From 2005: “Drought has turned farmland into useless dirt…” Image via Wikipedia An unsigned editorial from Le Pays (Ouagadougou): A quite good reflection on the educational and other restrictions coming for future governments in Niger, but tying the famine. The…

Niger: Another kidnap in the north

The French press is reporting that a French tourist and an Algerian guide were kidnapped by armed men today in northern Niger, near the well at In-Abangaret. Also spelled Inabangaret, it’s a stopping place on the Azzouagh plain’s Tahoua/Assamakka/Tama…

Niger: Greenpeace reoprt on the Nuclear poisoning of Niger

Greenpeace’s 30 March report on radioactivity levels in the streets of Arlit and its suburb Akokan has been repeatedly denied by French nuclear company AREVA, the operator of the two nearby mines. These two (one underground, one open pit) provide almost half Niger’s exports by value, and their “success” is the basis for the some 150 mining contracts sold by the Tandja regime, mostly to Canadian and Chinese companies. Locals have long complained of the pollution from the Somair and Cominak mines. Franco Nigerien group CRIIRAD found radioactivity levels 100 times background in 2007. Construction of roads and buildings was done using radioactive mine tailings, while mine dust blows across the region from Somair pit. With the entire Talak plain west of the Aïr Massif now being sold for mining, the northern seasonal pasture lands upon which pastoralism depends will soon disappear or become polluted beyond use. This has long been known, and it is good to see renewed press attention.