Stories: Mali

  • Meet Ami, Mali’s biggest female rapper

    There aren’t many female rappers in Mali. The West African country is known for the bedouin ballads of Tinariwen, the enduring voice of Khaira Arby, and the new-rock beats of Songhoy Blues. But Mali is not so famous for its rap scene—and even less so for its female rappers. Ami is an exception. “There is...

  • Stalled

    Mbera refugee camp, Mauritania – Nana Mint Cheybani has abandoned the thought of going back to Mali. Life in Mbera refugee camp, on the southeast corner of Mauritania, a desert country on the coast of West Africa, is tough. Tensions between refugees and locals regularly flare up over access to local resources and the camp suffers from chronic underfunding. ...

  • Refugees in Mauritania in lonely fight for mental health care

    MBERA REFUGEE CAMP, Mauritania – As tens of thousands of refugees from Mali remain displaced in this expansive camp, families are growing increasingly concerned by a lack of support for their mental health and well-being. Humanitarian groups working in Mbera refugee camp say a lack of funds and expertise makes providing care for survivors of trauma and violence difficult, especially...

  • In drought-stricken Mali, women maneuver for land - and a future

    IRP fellow Alex Potter reported from Mali on the ways in which women struggle to maintain control of their land amidst environmental challenges and gender discrimination. The video can be viewed here.

  • Don’t Call It a Jihadist Insurgency — Yet

    Malian troops patrol outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on November 21, 2015. Photo: Habibou Kouyate/AFP/Getty Images On Friday, November 20, two gunmen attacked the Radisson Blu hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako, taking 170 hostages and killing 19 before security forces stormed the building. Three years after Al Qaeda-linked fighters overran northern Mali, the country is ravaged...

  • The Struggle for Mali

    When fighters linked to al-Qaida swept into Timbuktu on 1 April 2012, Dr Ibrahim Maiga found himself living a nightmare. The new rulers of west Africa’s most famous centre of Islamic scholarship immediately set about destroying its history. Over the following months they set fire tothousands of ancient manuscripts, destroyed the mausoleums of local holy menand forced musicians...

  • How Was Your Day… Sufi Law Student in Mali?

    Boubacar O Keita Bamako, Mali I got up at one o’clock this morning, like every morning, to pray with my fellow disciples. Our living space is upstairs, but our guide, Sheikh Bilal, leads prayers in the mosque room on the ground floor. We kneel together under the Quranic inscriptions and chant the names of Allah. The meditation...

  • Mali’s Voice of Reason

    This June, as Mali’s three-year civil war sputtered to an end, representatives of the government, loyalist militias, and the rebels gathered here in the capital to discuss their country’s future. Just days earlier they had signed a provisional peace agreement. Now, they came together for a public discussion of the deal: not in...

  • The Iranian-Saudi Proxy Wars Come to Mali

    In a country where two-thirds of the adults are illiterate, it is a privileged few who have the chance to study at the Mustafa International School. Located in the western suburbs of Bamako, a few blocks from the U.S. Embassy, the college-level seminary has just 180 students — 150 men and 30 women. They engage in an intensive curriculum that encompasses theology,...

  • On Patrol With the Soldiers Battling Bandits, Islamist Militants, and Mistrust in Mali

    There are 10 of us in the armored personnel carrier, sweating under body armor as we bounce along the road out of Timbuktu on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Mali. It's nearly 110 degrees. We're on patrol with soldiers from Burkina Faso who are serving as United Nations peacekeepers. They hold old...