Armand Konan stood in front of the Palais des Sports, a stadium in Abidjan’s popular neighbourhood, Treichville, selling videos and speeches of former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo. “People need to remember what our president said...He is our president. And we want him back,” Konan told IPS.
Aminata Diarra last saw her brother, Malamine, a member of the Malian Red Berets, special forces loyal to ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure, alive on national television almost two years ago.
Under the harsh Sunday afternoon sun, Daouda Dicko washes his client’s clothes on the shore of the Niger River, which runs through Mali’s capital, Bamako. “I started doing this to survive two years ago. Now, I am used to it and I don’t mind the extra money it brings,” Dicko, who also works as a gardener, tells IPS.
In her traditional orange headdress, Agaichetou Toure sits quietly in a waiting room in Kalaban-Koura, a popular neighbourhood on the outskirts of Mali’s capital Bamako.
In Cote d'Ivoire, traditional hunters known as dozos are accused of human rights abuses and extortion. But in several areas, they also remain the sole guarantor of local safety.
All over the Ivorian economic capital, Abidjan, large cranes, involved in the construction of new buildings and highways, are dotted across the city skyline.
“We are sad. We want our president back,” Yao Amandine told IPS from a street corner in the Ivorian economic metropolis, Abidjan, after the International Criminal Court ruled against granting former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo a conditional release on Tuesday.
As the Côte d’Ivoire government clears its protected forests of illegal occupiers, particularly in the Dix-Huit Montagnes region, environmentalists say that this crucial move might lead to conflict in an already tense region.
In Dakar, urban commuters are familiar with kids as young as five years old begging on street corners at all hours of the day or the night, with torn, dirty clothes, collecting donations in an empty tin can.
As the Malian army and its foreign partners are slowly securing northern cities in the West African nation, it is still unclear how the country will turn its back on the political crisis that led to the March 2012 military coup.
Fatimata Wallet Haibala sits among a group of women and teenage girls under a tent, her handicapped boy on her lap. The scene could be a rural picture of a Tuareg gathering in the desert. But the mother mother of five resides in a refugee camp in Goudebo, Burkina Faso, almost 100 kilometres from their home in Mali.
At the entrance to the Evangelical church in Mopti, central Mali, military soldiers stood on either side of the door as Pastor Luc Sagara greeted his parishioners for Sunday mass.
“We know they are close. We do not feel safe,” mutters Allassane Traoré, as he stares down the road on which the Islamists entered the town of Diabaly in central Mali, almost two weeks ago.