Communities in northern Mali are in need of humanitarian intervention following the recent military operations in Gao and Timbuktu, leading non-governmental organisations to call for deliveries of food aid, fuel and even currency notes.
“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.
Malians, including students and businesses owners, are donating money to their military’s costly war against armed Islamic groups that have occupied the north of this impoverished West African country and committed atrocities against local populations.
As Washington broadens its military “footprint” in the Sahel region of Africa, U.S. analysts are urging the administration of President Barack Obama to devote more effort to diplomacy, especially in Mali.
A column of Chadian soldiers – members of the region's most battle-hardened army – moved north from Niger's capital Niamey on Tuesday to join French and African forces battling to free northern Mali from the grip of armed Islamic groups.
U.S. Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta has applauded France's surprise airstrikes on Islamist rebels in northern Mali that began late last week and continued over the weekend.
Even as U.S. and French officials suggest that a United Nations resolution on military intervention in Mali could come by the end of the week, concerns are rising that such action could do far more harm than good.
Charles Kayongo of Uganda is a father of two girls aged five and three. And even though age-old traditions among his ethnic group, the Baganda, say a man should have an unlimited number of children and a son as an heir, Kayongo refuses to have more children.
West African heads of state have restated their determination that no member of Mali's transitional government will be allowed to stand in the country's next presidential election. Their statement has fed a growing debate over who should be allowed to run.
Despite growing western concerns about the continuing reign in northern Mali by an Al Qaeda-linked group, analysts here say it will take months before conditions could be ripe to oust it from the region, by military force if necessary.
A failure to focus on small-scale economics could be the most significant obstacle to stability in North Africa in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, economists, diplomats and development workers warned here on Friday.
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday began to debate a plan to deploy West African peacekeeping troops to tackle the six-month Islamist insurgency in northern Mali.
Military action by West African states against the insurrection in northern Mali would be extremely risky without diplomatic support from neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania, according to International Crisis Group researcher Gilles Yabi.
Millet has become the basic ingredient for an enriched flour at the heart of an effort to establish a local, sustainable response to malnutrition in Mali.
Each year, 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth. 50,000 of them die from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth. And 95 percent of those births occur in developing countries.