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Mady Camara

Dakar, Senegal
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About Mady
I am a freelance journalist based in Dakar, Senegal, from where I cover the West and Central Africa region where I have an extensive knowledge and good contacts. I have a good sense of story and am particularly interested in migration issues, climate change and conflict in the Sahel. I transcribe and translate audio for broadcast or the web in English and French and also work with cameramen to produce TV packages. Bylines with the New York Times, Al Jazeera, BBC and others.
Bambara English Fula
Interview (Video / Broadcast) News Gathering Content Writing
Politics Current Affairs Science & Environment

Senegal Votes in an Election That Almost Didn’t Happen

24 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Senegal is holding a presidential election that was almost canceled by the incumbent president, Macky Sall, who later reversed his decision. The election is seen as a chance for significant political and economic change, especially among the youth. Key figures include opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and his candidate Bassirou Diomaye Faye, who have garnered strong support from young voters. The election is marked by high turnout and a sense of relief that it is proceeding. The country faces challenges such as poverty and unemployment, and the outcome may impact foreign investment and economic progress.

After Watching 10 Migrants Die at Sea, He Now Pleads: ‘Stay’

02 Dec 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Moustapha Diouf, a Senegalese migrant who witnessed the deaths of 10 fellow migrants at sea, has dedicated his life to dissuading others from making the perilous journey to Europe. Despite his efforts through the nonprofit AJRAP, which he co-founded, and his attempts to seek support from high-profile figures, including the Senegalese president and the European Union, he faces significant challenges. The resurgence of migration attempts, driven by economic hardship and lack of local opportunities, underscores the ongoing crisis. Diouf's story highlights the dire situation in Senegal, where young people feel compelled to migrate despite the dangers, and the insufficient support from both local and international authorities.

How Europe Outsourced Border Enforcement to Africa

05 Sep 2023  |  In These Times
The article discusses the deployment of advanced surveillance technologies, including the Universal Forensic Extraction Device (UFED) by Cellebrite, at the border between Senegal and Mauritania. These tools, funded by the European Union, are part of a broader strategy to prevent West Africans from migrating to Europe. German MEP Cornelia Ernst and her Dutch counterpart Tineke Strik, concerned about the erosion of fundamental human rights, embarked on a fact-finding mission in West Africa. They discovered that the EU, through its border and coast guard agency Frontex, is attempting to extend its border control into African nations, raising concerns about the potential for abuse and lack of oversight. The article also highlights the EU's investment of billions in anti-migration projects in Africa, which have been criticized for their lack of transparency and potential misuse, particularly in countries with weak democratic safeguards. The EU's policies are seen as contributing to the erosion of fundamental rights, national sovereignty, and local economies in African countries.

Deadly Boat Accident in Senegal Raises Concern About Patrols to Stop Migrants

13 Aug 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
A recent incident at a beach in Dakar, Senegal, involved a wooden fishing boat, known as a pirogue, which was carrying migrants aiming to reach Spain. The boat encountered a tragic accident, hitting underwater rocks and resulting in at least 16 fatalities. The incident occurred early on July 24 and was marked by the boat being chased by patrol vessels from Spain and Senegal in the dark. The account of the chase was confirmed by a witness present on the beach and the leader of a local aid group who has communicated with survivors. The deputy mayor of the area also acknowledged the pursuit in an interview.

Deadly Protests in Senegal as Opposition Party Is Dissolved and Leader Detained

01 Aug 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Senegal's government has dissolved the main opposition party and detained its leader, Ousmane Sonko, leading to deadly protests with two fatalities. Interior Minister Antoine Felix Abdoulaye Diome reported additional deaths and injuries from an attack involving Molotov cocktails in Dakar. Sonko, mayor of Ziguinchor and a former tax inspector, has been a vocal critic of President Macky Sall, calling for protests and the president's removal. The government has responded by restricting internet service, motorcycle traffic, and attributing violence and property damage to the opposition party.

‘The State Killed My Brother’: Senegal in Uproar After Deadly Protests

12 Jun 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Senegal is experiencing turmoil following clashes between police and opposition supporters, resulting in at least 16 deaths. The victims, including a tailor, a baker, and a student, suffered fatal gunshot wounds, leading to suspicions of police firing on protesters. The unrest stems from growing frustration with President Macky Sall's government, particularly regarding youth unemployment and alleged corruption. Sall's ambiguity over a third-term bid, which may be unconstitutional, has also fueled discontent. Despite Sall commending the security forces' professionalism, the interior minister has suggested foreign influence in the riots and justified the police's actions as restrained.

Four sons set out on a perilous migration route. Only one came home

01 Apr 2023  |  www.bbc.com
The article tells the harrowing story of a perilous migration journey from Senegal to the Canary Islands undertaken by four brothers from the village of Fass Boye. Adama and Moussa Sarr, along with two cousins, embarked on a traditional fishing canoe, a pirogue, with 101 people. They faced starvation, dehydration, and death during their five-week ordeal at sea. The journey, which was supposed to take five to six days, turned tragic as food and water ran out, and many passengers died. The survivors were eventually rescued by a Spanish fishing vessel, but not before Moussa and two of their cousins had perished. The article highlights the desperation and risks that drive many young Senegalese to undertake such dangerous voyages due to poverty and lack of opportunities at home, exacerbated by government policies and social pressures. It also touches on the broader issue of migration and the invisible shipwrecks that often go unrecorded on this perilous route.

Rotted Vegetables and Rancid Milk No More, as a Bridge Replaces Ferries

08 Nov 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
A new bridge across the Gambia River has significantly reduced travel time for long-distance truck drivers in West Africa, exemplified by Cheikh Oumar Tamba's journey from Dakar to southern Senegal. The infrastructure project has eliminated one of the region's major traffic bottlenecks, improving the transportation of goods and positively impacting people's lives.

New Burkina Faso Coup Raises Question About Security

01 Oct 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Burkina Faso faces further uncertainty after a military coup, the second in eight months, with ousted president Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba refusing to step down and warning of potential conflict. The new leader, Capt. Ibrahim Traoré, has accused France of supporting Damiba's potential counterattack, leading to tensions and protests in the capital, Ouagadougou. This situation threatens to destabilize the region, already struggling with violent extremist attacks and humanitarian crises.

In Senegal, Riding the Train for the First Time

05 Sep 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
The article discusses the daily routine of commuters in Dakar, focusing on the peak hours at train stations. It highlights that most people in Dakar finish their workday at 6 p.m., leading to crowded stations as everyone tries to head home. The cycle repeats with commuters returning the following day for another train ride, indicating a discussion on the public transportation system and its usage during rush hours.

Ivory Coast, a Big Cocoa Exporter, Tries to Move Up the Ladder

13 Aug 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Ivory Coast, the world's largest cocoa producer, is attempting to enhance its economy by moving beyond exporting raw cocoa beans to producing and selling cocoa-based products domestically and internationally. This shift aims to increase revenue, create jobs, and reduce the national poverty rate. Local ventures like Choco+ are emerging, and the Ivorian government plans to invest in the industry's transformation. Despite challenges such as low yields, price drops, and the physical toll on farmers, there is a sense of national pride in cocoa production. The government's investment and local marketing efforts, which highlight cocoa's health benefits, are part of a strategy to increase domestic consumption and retain more of the cocoa industry's global revenue within the country.

In Mali, a massacre with a Russian footprint

01 Jun 2022  |  www.japantimes.co.jp
In central Mali's Moura, during a market day before Ramadan, helicopters dropped soldiers to block exits while pursuing Islamist militants. The soldiers, including Malians and white foreigners in military fatigues speaking neither English nor French, were believed to be part of the Wagner Group, a Russian military contractor. The operation resulted in a massacre.

In Mali, a massacre with a Russian footprint

31 May 2022  |  seattletimes.com
In Moura, Mali, Malian soldiers and Russian Wagner Group mercenaries executed hundreds of men, looted houses, and committed human rights abuses over five days. The attack targeted Islamist militants but resulted in numerous civilian casualties. Satellite imagery confirmed mass graves, and the death toll is estimated between 300 and 400. The Malian military and Wagner Group's actions have been denounced internationally, and the EU has imposed sanctions on individuals connected to Wagner. The UN has reported an increase in human rights violations by the Malian military since collaborating with Wagner. The abuses fit a pattern seen in other countries where Wagner mercenaries operate. Despite the Malian authorities' denial of Wagner's presence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov acknowledged their commercial security services in Mali. The incidents have eroded trust in the government among locals, with some fearing that the mercenaries are more dangerous than the jihadists.

Bissau Reasserts Control After Fears of Another Coup in Africa

01 Feb 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
In Guinea-Bissau, a military coup appeared imminent as gunfire erupted near the presidential palace and military trucks were seen racing through the streets. President Umaro Sissoco Embaló vanished but later reemerged, announcing he had foiled an attack against democracy, which resulted in the death of many security forces and the arrest of others. The coup attempt, which Embaló linked to drug trafficking, aimed to assassinate him, the prime minister, and the cabinet. This event marks a continuation of the country's history of coups since its independence from Portugal 48 years ago.

This ‘Plastic Man’ Has a Cape and a Superhero’s Mission: Cleaning Up Senegal

20 Jan 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
In Dakar, Senegal, during the city's annual marathon, an environmental activist named Modou Fall drew attention by wearing an outfit made entirely of plastic. His attire, which included a multicolored cape of plastic bags and a hat made from plastic sunglasses, was not for the competition but to raise awareness about the plastic waste problem in Senegal. Fall took advantage of the marathon's popularity and media coverage to promote his cause and highlight the issue of plastic pollution that affects the country's natural beauty and environment.

Covid in Senegal: Vaccine Demand Grows but Supply Is Short

18 Sep 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
In Senegal, the demand for Covid-19 vaccines has surged following a severe third wave of the pandemic, but supply remains critically low. Despite initial hesitancy fueled by rumors and misinformation, more Senegalese are now eager to get vaccinated. However, hospitals are running out of first doses, and there is uncertainty about when new supplies will arrive. The third wave has overwhelmed hospitals and increased burial rates, highlighting the urgent need for more vaccines.

Guinean soldiers claim to seize power in coup attempt

05 Sep 2021  |  The Irish Times
Guinea's special forces, led by Col Mamady Doumbouya, claimed to have seized power and detained President Alpha Condé after a morning of heavy gunfire in the capital, Conakry. Doumbouya announced the dissolution of the constitution on state television, following Condé's contentious third term win, which involved a constitutional change to bypass the two-term limit. This event marks Guinea's potential third violent power transfer in West Africa within five months. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the coup, and videos on social media showed both Condé under guard and public celebrations in the streets.

Guinea President, Alpha Condé, Seized in Military Coup

05 Sep 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
Heavy gunfire in Conakry, Guinea, signaled a military coup as President Alpha Condé was detained by special forces. Col. Mamady Doumbouya announced the dissolution of the constitution and government, marking Guinea's third coup since 1984. This event follows recent coups in Chad and Mali, highlighting a trend of violent power shifts in West Africa. Condé's contentious third term, achieved by altering the constitution, set the stage for this upheaval.

Republic of Congo Presidential Candidate Dies of Covid

22 Mar 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas, a presidential candidate in the Republic of Congo, died of Covid-19 just hours after the election. Kolélas, who was challenging long-time President Denis Sassou Nguesso, fell ill on Friday and was evacuated to France for treatment but died en route. His death was confirmed by his campaign director during a meeting in Brazzaville.

Trump Bequeaths Biden an Upended World

19 Jan 2021  |  www.nytimes.com
President Trump's erratic and unpredictable policies have strained relationships with allies and rivals alike, leaving a legacy of global uncertainty for incoming President Joe Biden. Trump's actions, including his infatuation with North Korea's leader, kowtowing to Russia's Putin, and undermining democratic values, have led to widespread relief at his departure. The domestic and international fractures he exacerbated will continue to challenge America's global influence.

Arrest of Cameraman in Ethiopia Signals Wider Crackdown

29 Dec 2020  |  www.nytimes.com
The arrest of Reuters cameraman Kumerra Gemechu in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, highlights the country's declining press freedom amidst the conflict with the Tigray region. Despite initial hopes for increased freedom under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, his government has been accused of using the judicial system to intimidate the press, especially after the military offensive in Tigray began on November 4. The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the arrest as an attempt to undermine press rights and citizen's right to information.

Hundreds Die at Sea Off Senegal’s Coast on a Perilous Route to Europe

02 Nov 2020  |  www.nytimes.com
A tragic maritime accident occurred off the coast of Senegal, where an estimated 150 migrants died after their wooden boat capsized on its way to the Canary Islands. This incident is part of a recent increase in the use of the dangerous sea route around northwest Africa to reach Europe. Alarm Phone, a hotline for migrants in distress, and Senegalese firefighters reported the disaster. The Senegalese government acknowledged the rise in clandestine sea emigration and has been conducting surveillance and arresting suspected traffickers. This event follows a similar tragedy that happened less than a week prior, where at least 140 migrants perished.

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