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Ruth Maclean

Dakar, Senegal
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About Ruth
I am the Guardian's West Africa correspondent, based in Dakar. Previously I was The Times's correspondent in South Africa and Mexico. I can make audio and video for broadcast or the web to a very high standard. I also shoot my own photographs. I have an extensive knowledge of the region and good contacts.

See examples of my work at ruthmaclean.com
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Fact Checking

U.S. and Niger Announce Withdrawal of American Personnel by September

19 May 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
The U.S. and Niger have announced the withdrawal of 1,000 U.S. military personnel from Niger by September 15, 2024. This marks the end of a significant counterterrorism partnership in the Sahel region. Senior officials from both countries met in Niamey to coordinate the withdrawal, ensuring an orderly and safe process. Procedures for the entry and exit of U.S. personnel have been established, despite recent challenges in obtaining clearances. Approximately 100 American personnel with urgent needs have already left Niger. The withdrawal will be conducted with mutual respect and transparency.

Chad’s Military Ruler Is Announced as Winner of Disputed Election

09 May 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Celebratory gunshots erupted in Chad's capital after President Mahamat Idriss Déby was declared the winner of a disputed election, despite earlier claims of victory by opposition leader Succès Masra. The election results, showing Déby with 61% of the vote, were seen by many as predetermined by a transitional government unwilling to cede power. The election was marred by violence, including the deaths of nine people, and allegations of fraud and ballot-box stuffing. Déby had previously promised not to run for election but did so after disqualifying several prominent candidates.

Mali Claims Death of Terrorist Who Helped Lead Deadly Ambush in Niger

30 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Mali announced the killing of Abu Huzeifa, an Islamist commander involved in a 2017 attack in Niger that resulted in the deaths of American and Nigerien soldiers. The operation took place in the Liptako region, a tri-border area shared by Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger. The three countries, governed by military juntas, have formed the Alliance of Sahel States to combat extremist violence. U.S. officials are verifying the report of Huzeifa's death.

Chad Election 2024: What to Know

30 Apr 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Chad's upcoming election on May 6 is seen as a maneuver to legitimize the rule of Mahamat Idriss Déby, who took power unconstitutionally after his father's death. Despite its natural resources, Chad remains one of the poorest countries and is currently hosting refugees from Sudan. The election is significant as Chad is the first of several junta-led African countries to hold a vote, contrasting with delayed elections in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea. Chad is also a key security partner for Western nations, hosting French and American troops.

Young Opposition Candidate Set to Become Senegal’s President

25 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Bassirou Diomaye Faye, backed by opposition politician Ousmane Sonko, has won Senegal’s presidential election following the concession of his main rival, Amadou Ba. Faye, who turned 44 on the day of his victory, will be the youngest president in Senegal's history and the youngest currently serving elected president in Africa. His victory comes shortly after being released from jail, where he was held on charges of defamation and contempt of court. Faye and Sonko have appealed to young voters with promises to renegotiate oil and gas contracts and to establish monetary sovereignty. Although the national electoral commission has not announced the official results, local media reports indicate that Faye secured over 50 percent of the vote, eliminating the need for a runoff.

Democracy Teetering in African Countries Once Ruled by France

22 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Democracy is facing significant challenges in former French colonies in Africa, with elected officials and coup plotters both undermining democratic processes. In Senegal, the president attempted to cancel an election, while in Niger, a military coup has left the elected president imprisoned. Chad saw the death of a leading opposition politician in a clash with security forces, and Tunisia's president is moving towards autocracy. Experts attribute these issues to the concentration of power in presidential hands and the lingering influence of France, which has historically supported corrupt governments in these regions.

Senegal Election 2024: What You Need to Know

19 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Senegal's 2024 election, initially expected to be uneventful, has become contentious after President Macky Sall canceled and then reinstated the vote, citing corruption in candidate approvals. The main candidates include Amadou Ba from the governing party and Bassirou Diomaye Faye, recently released from jail. Notably absent is Ousmane Sonko, barred from running due to a conviction. The election is set for March 24, just before Sall's term ends, amid heightened political tensions and public unrest.

Gambia Moves Toward Overturning Landmark Ban on Female Genital Cutting

18 Mar 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Gambian lawmakers have voted to advance a bill that would revoke the ban on female genital cutting, which could remove legal protections for millions of girls. The bill has passed a critical stage in the Gambia National Assembly, with 42 out of 47 members present voting in favor. If the bill passes, Gambia will be the first nation to roll back protections against cutting. The ban was enforced last year with fines for practitioners. An influential imam has been advocating for the repeal, citing religious and cultural reasons. Opponents of genital cutting were barred from entering Parliament during the vote, while supporters were allowed in.

Senegal Must Hold Election After All, Top Court Rules

15 Feb 2024  |  www.nytimes.com
Senegal's constitutional court has ruled that the postponed national election must be held as soon as possible, overturning President Macky Sall's decree and a parliamentary decision to delay the vote. The court emphasized that only it has the authority to postpone elections, mandating that political campaigns begin and the election be organized promptly. This decision has introduced uncertainty into Senegal's political landscape, with President Sall's next steps unclear. The ruling follows allegations of corruption within the constitutional court and comes amid a backdrop of political tension and questions about Sall's intentions regarding his succession.

Who Owns the Benin Bronzes? The Answer Just Got More Complicated.

04 Jun 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Deals were being finalized to return the Benin Bronzes, looted by British soldiers in 1897, to Nigeria. The Smithsonian Institution, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the German government were among those returning the artifacts. However, Nigeria's outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari transferred ownership to Ewuare II, the current oba of Benin, complicating restitution efforts. This move has sparked anxiety among museums negotiating returns, highlighting the complexities of artifact restitution.

Thousands Flee to Sudan’s Main Seaport, Seeking Ships to Safety

01 May 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Thousands have gathered in Port Sudan, fleeing violence in the capital and seeking evacuation across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has evacuated over 5,000 foreigners and is attempting to mediate the conflict between rival Sudanese generals. The United Nations reports 50,000 people have fled Sudan, with over 500 civilian deaths according to the World Health Organization. The conflict involves the Sudanese Army and the Rapid Support Forces, with many also fleeing to Chad, Egypt, and South Sudan.

Nigerian Election 2023 and Bola Tinubu’s Victory: What to Know

01 Mar 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Bola Tinubu was declared the winner of Nigeria's presidential election amidst a tight race and allegations of vote rigging. The election saw the lowest turnout ever, with only 27% of eligible voters participating. Tinubu, a former Lagos governor and a Muslim from the southwest, won with 36% of the vote, avoiding a runoff. His main opponents were Atiku Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party. Recent changes to the voting system aimed to prevent tampering, and for the first time in decades, major candidates represented Nigeria's three main ethnic groups. Nigeria faces challenges such as insecurity, unemployment, corruption, and a stagnating economy, prompting many young, middle-class Nigerians to emigrate.

Bola Tinubu’s Victory Extends His Party’s Time in Power in Nigeria

01 Mar 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Bola Tinubu was declared the winner of Nigeria's presidential election, extending the governing All Progressives Congress's rule amidst economic and security crises. The election was contested by major rivals from the Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party, who alleged fraud and planned to challenge the results. Tinubu's victory comes as Nigeria faces challenges such as kidnappings, a struggling economy, and security threats from militant groups. The election saw the lowest voter turnout in Nigeria's history, reflecting widespread disillusionment. Tinubu's tenure as Lagos governor and his political influence have been both praised and criticized, and he faces the task of uniting a diverse nation and addressing its pressing issues.

Bola Tinubu’s Victory Extends His Party’s Time in Power in Nigeria

01 Mar 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Bola Tinubu, a key figure in Nigerian politics, won the presidential election, extending the rule of the All Progressives Congress amidst economic and security crises. His main opponents, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, have contested the results, citing fraud and violence. Tinubu's victory comes as Nigeria faces significant challenges, including economic instability, security threats, and a recent currency crisis. The election saw low voter turnout, reflecting widespread disillusionment among Nigerians, particularly the youth. Tinubu's administration will need to address these pressing issues to stabilize the country.

Bola Tinubu’s Victory Extends His Party’s Time in Power in Nigeria

01 Mar 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Bola Tinubu was declared the winner of Nigeria's presidential election, extending the ruling All Progressives Congress's hold on power amidst economic and security crises. The election was contested by major rivals from the Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party, who alleged fraud and vowed to challenge the results. Tinubu's victory is seen as controversial, with opponents and some of the public questioning the fairness of the election process. The country faces challenges such as kidnappings, a struggling economy, and security threats from militant groups.

Bola Tinubu Elected to Be Nigeria’s Next President

01 Mar 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Bola Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor and influential political figure, has been declared Nigeria's next president after a tightly contested election. Despite allegations of fraud and violence by opposition parties, who are challenging the results, Tinubu is recognized for his role in transforming Lagos. His presidency faces the challenge of uniting a youthful population against traditional governance, in a country marked by poverty, educational deficits, and security concerns.

Party Candidate in Nigeria Election Refuses to Concede

28 Feb 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Peter Obi, a former member of Nigeria’s main opposition party and ex-governor, ran as an outsider candidate for the Labour Party and placed third in the presidential race. His running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, announced plans to contest the election results, citing issues such as violence and voter suppression. Obi's campaign, notable for its support from youths and influential figures, focused on unemployment, justice, corruption, and economic opportunities. Despite his loss, Obi's campaign was seen as a beacon of hope for many young Nigerians.

Ahead of Nigeria’s Election, a Cash Shortage Causes Chaos and Suffering

22 Feb 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Nigeria faces severe cash shortages ahead of its presidential election, causing widespread chaos and suffering. The government's decision to replace its currency has led to long ATM lines, protests, and economic disruption. The crisis has become a significant factor in the election, with voters angry at the ruling party. The Central Bank's unclear motives and poor handling of the situation have drawn criticism, and political infighting has intensified. The cash crunch, compounded by fuel scarcity, has severely impacted daily life and the economy.

Peter Obi Has Energized Nigeria’s Young Voters. Will They Turn Out for Him?

18 Feb 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Peter Obi, a leading candidate in Nigeria's presidential election, made a surprise campaign stop at Lagos's largest electronics market, drawing a large crowd of young supporters. He emphasized the potential for a new Nigeria and a government that cares about its people.

Pope Francis Visits Congo: What to Know

31 Jan 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
The Democratic Republic of Congo, despite its potential as an economic powerhouse due to its mineral wealth, large population, and vast territory, remains hindered by historical and ongoing challenges including colonialism, wars, corruption, and poor infrastructure. Pope Francis's visit to the capital, Kinshasa, was altered due to increased militia fighting in the east. The Congo rainforest, a significant carbon sink and biodiversity hotspot, is highlighted for its global environmental importance.

Visiting Congo, Pope Francis Embraces the Poor and Exploited

31 Jan 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
Pope Francis, marking his 10th year as the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, emphasizing his commitment to the poor, refugees, and environmental issues. His arrival in Kinshasa was met with overwhelming support, reflecting the local church's call for global attention to the nation's moral emergency. The visit underscores Francis's focus on inclusivity and addressing the needs of the global south.

Dozens of Women and Girls Kidnapped by Extremists Are Freed in Burkina Faso

20 Jan 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
More than 60 women and girls abducted in Burkina Faso were freed and taken to the capital, Ouagadougou. The kidnappings occurred near Arbinda while the women were foraging. Burkina Faso has been plagued by extremist groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, leading to significant violence and displacement. The situation is exacerbated by extrajudicial killings by the armed forces and vigilante groups.

Bus Crash in Senegal Kills at Least 40

08 Jan 2023  |  www.nytimes.com
At least 40 people were killed and about 80 injured when two buses collided in Senegal's central Kaffrine region around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday. A tire burst on one of the buses is suspected to be the cause. President Macky Sall declared three days of national mourning and emphasized the need for road safety improvements. Senegal, with a high rate of traffic accidents, is part of a continent that accounts for 20% of global road fatalities. Poor road maintenance, inadequate safety agencies, and lax traffic law enforcement contribute to the high number of accidents, which disproportionately affect the poor.

Russian Official in Africa Wounded by Package Bomb, Moscow Says

16 Dec 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Dimitri Sytyi, a Russian official and head of the Russian House in the Central African Republic, was critically injured by a package bomb in Bangui. The Russian foreign ministry labeled the attack as terrorism. Sytyi is also linked to the Wagner Group, a private military contractor led by sanctioned Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin. The incident raises questions about Russia's influence in Africa and speculations about its authenticity and potential motives.

Ukraine Officials Warn Russia May Renew Its Offensive Early Next Year

16 Dec 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Ukrainian military and political leaders, including Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi and President Volodymyr Zelensky, have warned of a potential renewed Russian offensive, possibly targeting Kyiv, as early as January or February. Despite skepticism from some analysts and a lack of imminent threat according to the U.S. National Security Council, Ukraine is preparing for the possibility. Meanwhile, Russia continues to attack Ukrainian infrastructure, causing widespread power outages and damage. The U.S. has responded by agreeing to send the advanced Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. Additionally, a Russian official, Dimitri Sytyi, was injured in a bombing in the Central African Republic, and an alleged Russian spy, Mikhail Mikushin, was arrested in Norway. Brittney Griner has also announced her return home and to basketball after her release from Russian detention.

Biden Vows to Expand U.S. Involvement in Africa in Speech to Dozens of Leaders

14 Dec 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
President Joe Biden, at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, committed to expanding U.S. involvement in Africa, emphasizing support without fostering dependence. The summit highlighted American support through various initiatives, contrasting with China's focus on infrastructure. Biden's administration aims to encourage a continentwide free-trade zone, transition to clean energy, and digital economy integration. Skepticism among African leaders remains, with Rwanda's President Paul Kagame questioning the outcomes of previous summits. The U.S. also supports using minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo for electric vehicle batteries and backs the African Continental Free Trade Area. China's influence in Africa and the competition with the U.S. were underlying themes, with both countries having strategic interests in the region.

‘There Must Be More Room for Africa,’ Leader of African Union Says

13 Dec 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Macky Sall, President of Senegal and leader of the African Union, has emphasized the need for Africa to have greater influence in global affairs, stating that the continent is often sidelined. At the United Nations General Assembly, he highlighted Africa's limited role and is set to reiterate his message at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington. President Biden is reported to support a permanent spot for the African Union in the Group of 20 major economies.

What Will Biden Offer African Leaders at U.S.-Africa Summit?

12 Dec 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
President Biden is hosting a major summit in Washington to strengthen U.S. ties with Africa, amid growing competition from China, Russia, Turkey, and the UAE. The summit aims to include top-level meetings, new initiatives, and business deals, but African leaders, accustomed to being courted by foreign powers, seek genuine engagement and opportunities. The U.S. has traditionally lagged behind in Africa, with trade and influence overshadowed by China and Russia. The Biden administration hopes to reverse this trend by emphasizing partnership and shared interests, though there is skepticism about the lack of a signature policy initiative. The summit will also address issues like debt relief, climate change, and intellectual property laws, with a focus on building 21st-century partnerships.

Brittney Griner Is Flying Home After Prisoner Swap With Russia

08 Dec 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Brittney Griner, WNBA star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, has been released from Russian custody following a prisoner swap, returning home after months of detention. She was exchanged for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, nicknamed 'Merchant of Death.' The swap was a complex negotiation between the U.S. and Russia, with President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the forefront. While Griner's release is celebrated, the failure to secure the release of another American, Paul Whelan, has been met with criticism. The swap may also reflect Russia's broader strategy in its war with Ukraine, as Putin continues to exert pressure and seek concessions.

Brittney Griner Transferred to Russian Penal Colony

09 Nov 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Brittney Griner, the American basketball star, is being transferred from a jail outside Moscow to a Russian penal colony. Her legal team and the U.S. Embassy are awaiting official notification of her destination, which remains unknown. Griner was arrested over eight months ago for carrying a small amount of hash oil and has been sentenced to nine years in prison, a term considered harsher than usual for such an infraction. The case has strained U.S.-Russia relations, with discussions of a potential prisoner exchange ongoing.

Security Forces Open Fire on Protesters in Chad, Killing at Least 50

21 Oct 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Security forces in Chad killed at least 50 protesters in response to demonstrations against the junta's decision to extend its rule by two years, breaking promises of a democratic transition. The protests, primarily in Ndjamena and Moundou, were violently suppressed, with the death toll expected to rise. The incident highlights a trend of military rule in the Sahel region, where coups and prolonged transitions are common. Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo reported the official death toll, while opposition members claimed higher numbers. The situation in central Ndjamena has calmed, but clashes continue in some southern districts.

Nigeria Floods Kill Hundreds and Displace Over a Million

17 Oct 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Nigeria is experiencing its worst flooding in ten years, destroying farmland, infrastructure, and homes, and resulting in at least 603 deaths, over 2,400 injuries, and the displacement of more than 1.4 million people. With more flooding expected, residents are adapting by moving belongings to rooftops and navigating by canoe, as water levels threaten to submerge buildings and vehicles.

Military Officers Announce Coup in Burkina Faso

30 Sep 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Military officers in Burkina Faso announced a coup, marking the second such event in eight months. The coup, led by Capt. Ibrahim Traoré, ousted Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, who had taken power in January. The officers cited Damiba's failure to control the growing Islamist insurgency in the north and east, which has displaced nearly two million people. The announcement followed a day of gunfire and chaos in the capital, Ouagadougou.

French Soldiers Quit Mali After 9 Years, Billions Spent and Many Lives Lost

15 Aug 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
French troops have concluded their military mission in Mali, withdrawing after nine years of engagement. The operation, which began with a warm welcome, ended without a formal farewell from Mali, signaling a strained relationship. Despite the expenditure of billions of euros and the loss of thousands of civilian and military lives, including 59 French soldiers, the Islamist insurgency has expanded rather than been contained.

After being trapped for months, ships loaded with grain have left Ukraine. Where are they going?

10 Aug 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Ships carrying grain have left Ukrainian ports after months of being trapped, with destinations including Turkey, England, Ireland, Italy, and China. None of the ships are headed to countries facing severe hunger like Yemen or Somalia. The United Nations has highlighted the importance of these shipments in reducing global food prices, which will eventually benefit countries facing food shortages. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized Ukraine's role in ensuring global food security. The reopening of trade routes aims to increase grain availability on the world market, thereby lowering prices.

After Rockets Strike Near Nuclear Plant, Ukraine and Russia Trade Blame

07 Aug 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Ukraine has accused Russian forces of endangering the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after rockets landed on its grounds, narrowly avoiding a catastrophic radiation leak. The attack damaged windows and wounded one person. Russian forces, who have controlled the plant since March, have been using it to launch attacks on the Ukrainian town of Nikopol. Ukraine is restrained from counterattacking due to the risk of a radiation disaster. Energoatom reported that radiation detection monitors were damaged, hindering timely response to potential radiation leaks.

U.S. Warns African Countries That Buying Russian Oil Could Break Sanctions

05 Aug 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, warned African countries during her trip to Uganda and Ghana against purchasing Russian oil, stating it could violate sanctions. The U.S. and EU have imposed sanctions on Russian oil imports following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. African countries, which are major importers of Russian and Ukrainian grain, have faced food insecurity exacerbated by the war, droughts, conflicts, and the pandemic's economic effects. Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov denied Russia's responsibility for food shortages, blaming Western sanctions. Western officials have clarified that sanctions do not cover Russian agricultural exports.

Congo to Auction Off Oil and Gas Blocks In a Step Back for Climate Change

24 Jul 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
The Democratic Republic of Congo is auctioning off large tracts of land, including parts of Virunga National Park and tropical peatlands, to attract oil investments. This move is seen as a significant setback in the fight against climate change, with environmentalists warning of catastrophic consequences. Greenpeace's Irene Wabiwa emphasizes the potential global climate disaster if oil exploitation proceeds in these critical areas.

In West Africa and Beyond, Mali’s Famed Manuscripts Are Put to Use

12 Jul 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
In Mali's capital, Bamako, a project is underway to digitize tens of thousands of old manuscripts from Timbuktu, which were rescued from jihadists in 2012. These documents, including legal texts, scientific writings, and copies of the Quran, are being preserved, cataloged, and made accessible on Google Arts & Culture. The manuscripts reveal advanced knowledge in various fields by West African scholars, challenging past Western claims of African societies being predominantly oral. However, translation efforts are limited due to the scarcity of scholars proficient in the necessary languages. The manuscripts are seen as a source of solutions for contemporary issues, as demonstrated by a reading in Segou from a text by Omar Tall, which provided historical context for resolving conflicts.

Why Is There So Much Turmoil in Eastern Congo?

01 Jul 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Tensions between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda are escalating, potentially leading to war in Africa's Great Lakes region. The conflict, once termed Africa's World War, has seen a resurgence with the rebel group M23 attacking civilians, capturing a town, and causing mass displacement. A U.N. report suggests Rwanda may be supporting M23, which Rwanda denies. The situation has led to strained relations, with a Congolese official warning of war if Rwanda seeks it.

Belgian King Returns Mask to Congo in Landmark Visit

08 Jun 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
King Philippe of Belgium handed over a wooden mask to President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo, marking a symbolic step in addressing the colonial past. The mask, used by the Suku people and taken to Belgium in 1954, is on indefinite loan rather than a full restitution. Many Congolese expressed that this gesture was insufficient without an apology for the crimes committed during King Leopold II's rule.

Russia Escalates Attacks on Ukraine as Refugee Numbers Surge

01 Mar 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Russia has intensified its military operations in Ukraine, targeting civilian areas in Kharkiv and Kyiv, including a hospital and a broadcasting tower. The attacks have led to casualties and damage to a Holocaust memorial. Despite international condemnation and economic sanctions, Russia continues its offensive, leading to a potential refugee crisis in Europe. Rumors suggest Russia may increase conscription to support its forces, as Ukrainian resistance challenges the Kremlin's expectations of a swift victory.

Africans Say Ukrainian Authorities Hindered Them From Fleeing

01 Mar 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Africans in Ukraine report being hindered by Ukrainian authorities from fleeing the country amidst the Russian invasion. They describe being stuck at border crossings, facing discrimination, and even physical abuse while Ukrainians were allowed to pass. The United Nations refugee agency reports that 660,000 people have fled Ukraine, including students and migrant workers from Africa and Asia.

In Congo, Floating Pastors Follow Mobile Flocks Along Busy River

01 Feb 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, evangelical pastors have taken to the Congo River to preach to mobile congregations aboard boats. These floating pastors, such as José Sumpi and Bionique Ebeke, deliver messages of prosperity and salvation to passengers on long journeys. The practice reflects the broader influence of churches in Congo, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Kimbanguist Church. Despite the hardships and dangers of river travel, these pastors find a captive audience among traders and travelers, emphasizing the urgency of their evangelistic mission.

Military Seizes Power in Burkina Faso

24 Jan 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
The military in Burkina Faso has seized power, ousting President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré amid growing public and military dissatisfaction with his handling of Islamist insurgency. The coup, announced on state television, has led to the suspension of the Constitution and the imposition of a curfew. Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba has been introduced as the new head of state. The coup follows a series of similar military takeovers in Africa, reflecting a broader trend of political instability in the region. Public sentiment is divided, with some supporting the coup due to frustration with the current government, while others remain skeptical about the military's ability to bring about positive change.

Mining Truck Explodes in Ghana, Killing Dozens

20 Jan 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
At least 50 people are feared dead following an explosion in Apiate, southwestern Ghana, after a mining truck carrying explosives collided with a motorcycle. The blast caused significant destruction, leaving a large crater and reducing structures to rubble. The exact death toll is still unknown, and investigations are ongoing. The truck was traveling between the gold mines of Tarkwa and Chirano. Most victims have been hospitalized in Bogoso. Eyewitness Aaron Awusu described the sequence of events leading to the explosion.

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Malian President Ousted in 2020, Dies at 76

16 Jan 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, former president of Mali, died at 76 in Bamako. Keita, who led Mali from 2013 to 2020, was ousted in a coup amid corruption allegations. His tenure was marked by significant instability, including a crisis in 2012 and his eventual overthrow in 2020. Despite initial hopes for his leadership, his reputation suffered due to corruption and nepotism accusations. His death was confirmed by Abdoulaye Diop and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali.

Nigeria Lifts Twitter Ban

13 Jan 2022  |  www.nytimes.com
The Nigerian government has lifted its seven-month ban on Twitter after the social media platform agreed to several conditions, including establishing an office in Nigeria, paying taxes, and appointing a representative. The ban was initially imposed after Twitter deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that was perceived as a threat. Nigerians had been accessing Twitter through virtual private networks during the ban.

We Have to Break the Culture: Meet the Women Fighting Congo's Rape Epidemic

15 Jul 2015  |  www.vice.com
Justine Masika Bihamba and other female activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo are fighting against the rampant sexual violence and systemic oppression of women. Despite international attention and funding, the situation remains dire, with ongoing atrocities and insufficient support for victims. Activists criticize the international community and local political leaders for their inaction and call for more women in power to advocate for change. The article highlights the bravery and determination of these women, who continue to push for justice and equality in a highly patriarchal society.

We Are Also a Species: Botswana's Bushmen Are Fighting Conservationists for Tribal Rights

27 Feb 2015  |  www.vice.com
Botswana's Bushmen are challenging the country's strict conservation policies, which they argue infringe on their traditional hunting rights and livelihoods. Despite Botswana's reputation for wildlife protection, the Bushmen face imprisonment and torture for hunting. The article highlights the broader issue of tribal rights violations in the name of conservation, with criticism directed at organizations like the World Wildlife Fund and United for Wildlife. Advocates argue that tribal people are the best conservationists and should be included in conservation efforts rather than being marginalized.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Landmark Court Hearing on Charges of Crimes Against Humanity

09 Oct 2014  |  www.vice.com
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta attended a pre-trial status hearing at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, facing charges of crimes against humanity related to ethnic violence following the 2007 Kenyan elections. Despite the prosecution's struggle to obtain evidence, Kenyatta's presence marked a significant step for those affected by the conflict. The ICC must decide whether to proceed with the trial amid Kenya's refusal to hand over key documents. Kenyatta, who temporarily handed over the presidency to his deputy William Ruto during the hearing, argues the charges pertain to a period before his presidency. The African Union has criticized the ICC, claiming it targets only Africans and opposes proceedings against sitting presidents.

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