Refugee Road: The Flight from Mali

Refugee Road: The Flight from Mali Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting Ilagala Ag Amin, a 59-year-old Tuareg from northern Mali’s Kidal region in West Africa, is a wiry, compact man who, when I met him at the Mentao Red Cross camp in Burkina Faso, was wearing a blue...

Mali Chaos Continues/PRI’s The World

Mali Chaos Continues | PRI’s The World On Public Radio International’s “The World” with Marco Werman, May 25, 2012: American journalist Peter Chilson  has been in Mali, reporting on the crisis there. He crossed the border from Mali into Burkina...

An Enemy We Could Respect

The curator at the Sikasso Regional Museum here in the south of Mali tosses up his hands and falls on the floor of his office, flat on his back to demonstrate how the city of the same name, once the capital of the African kingdom of Kenedougou, fell to the French in...

Travel without Papers

I’ve just learned that Mohammed, the uninvited passenger sitting in the back seat of my rented car, doesn’t have travel papers. This is an issue because we’re waiting at the Ivory Coast border on our way south, out of Mali. Mohammed is the brother of Abdoulaye Diakité...

Man of the People?

Man of the People? Late the morning of Dec. 3, I’m in a Toyota Land Cruiser in a convoy, fourteen vehicles racing through thick red dust across back roads of the “new” Ivory Coast—the freshly reunited Ivory Coast, six months after the end of last spring’s brief civil...

According to Legend

The Mali Empire that ruled much of West Africa for 400 years from Niani, this village in Guinea on the Sankarani River, helped establish the first long-term trans-Saharan trade with Europe. One emperor, Abubakari II, is said to have launched pirogues fitted with sails...

Remains of Empire: The Road to Niani

On November 9, in late afternoon, I’m walking through a forest between two West African countries, Mali and Guinea. I’m looking for a tiny village called Niani, on the Guinea side. Niani, once a large walled city of tens of thousands of people, is the ancient capital...

Kidira

In Kidira, a town on Senegal’s eastern edge, the border policeman sees me studying the big trucks lined up on the road for the half mile back into town. I am standing—Senegal behind me to the west, and Mali before me to the east—in front of the metal card table where...