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 cotton tunic and leggings with a black turban wrapped around his shaven head. For visitors and friends he showed off the bullet wounds across his stomach from his days fighting with Libyan forces in Chad, back in 1982, and later with Tuareg rebels in the 1991 uprising against Mali and neighboring Niger, a war that lasted five years. “Five operations,” he said, lifting his tunic and pointing at the scars. “I still have a bullet inside me.” If he could, Ilagala would join the current rebellion that has split Mali between north and the south. “My heart is strong, but my body”—he shook his head—“not so good.”  (Click on title to continue reading)