Niger celebrates Touareg culture at Air festival | AFP

Niger’s Touaregs celebrate the Air festival in the northern Agadez region, featuring traditional music, camel races and crafts.

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Africa Weekly 7/2/2020: political turmoil in Malawi and Seychelles’ tourism problem | AFP

This week on Africa Weekly, we head to the perilous border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, where the French army is fighting alongside the G5 Sahel forces in an attempt to eliminate the threat posed by jihadists. From there, we take a contrasting look at the beaches of the Seychelles islands, a byword for luxury holidays. But there’s trouble in paradise, as the ever increasing tourist numbers start to pose a threat to the islands’ fragile ecosystem. We also take a look at the main headlines from across the continent this week.

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A round up of news and features | AFP

This week on Africa Weekly we head to Niger, where climate change is wreaking havoc for the nomadic Fulani Wodabé herders and their access to water.

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In the desert heat, Niger holds first ever marathon | AFP

In an arid desert setting, runners participate in the first ever marathon in Niger’s history, taking place in and around the city of Agadez. The athletes run under the close watch of dozens of soldiers, deployed to prevent any possible attack by jihadists. Organised with the slogan “Running for Peace in the Sahel”, the ‘Grand Marathon du Ténéré’ aims to help put a stop to the isolation of this troubled region.

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PART III – The Fulani in Niger: in pictures I AFP

The Fulani are pastoral herders who migrate with their cattle, following the pendulum swing of the seasons.
But their age-old way of life is under threat. Booming populations have intensified conflicts for land, religious extremism has shattered social bonds and climate change is driving them on an ever more desperate search for pasture.

#Fulani #Niger

Brothers in arms: African and French armies join forces in fight against jihadism in the Sahel | AFP

In the border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, French and Burkinabe soldiers march in step. Named Bourgou IV, their mission was the first official joint ground operation between the French army and the so-called G5 Sahel force, which pools troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Their goal: assert control over an area where no troops had set foot for over a year. It is in this “three borders” area that 13 French soldiers lost their lives in a helicopter accident on Monday.

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Niger locals battle deadly floods to save homes | AFP

Exceptionally high water levels in the river Niger are causing severe flooding for people who live along its banks in the Niger capital Niamey. Many have fled their homes after seeing attempts to slow the rising water with sand barriers come to nothing.

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African Union member states gather in Niamey to talk free-trade deal | AFP

The African Union gathers in Niamey, capital of Niger, for a summmit which the organisation hopes will pave the way towards a continent-wide free trade agreement. The AU envisions a free trade zone driving economic integration across a single African market of 1.2 billion people, expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. IMAGES

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Angela Merkel begins tour of Sahel region in Burkina Faso

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is greeted by Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in Ouagadougou. She is at the start of a tour of the Sahel region that will see her pass through Niger and Mali. IMAGES

Cameroon: 187 ex-Boko Haram fighters surrender arms

Some 187 Cameroonian former members of the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram voluntarily return to their country from Nigeria. They were taken to the base of the Multinational Joint Task Force, set up by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

A new migrant crisis is unfolding in Niger

Under a 2015 deal with the EU Niger halts the migrant flow in exchange for aid. Once a thriving city of Agadez faces dramatic economy reduction.

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US announces its armed drones now operate in Niger

The U.S. has confirmed its armed drones have been operating in the west African country of Niger for more than 6 months now.

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Report: Multiple Failures Led to Niger Attack

The Pentagon said Thursday multiple failures are to blame for the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. service members last October, including insufficient training and preparation as well as lack of proper command approval for the mission. (May 10)

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Benin’s Pendjari National Park comes back to life

In the north of Benin, elephants, lions and antelopes roam in peace across the savannah of the Pendjari National Park. The park — on the border with Burkina Faso and Niger — is the biggest in West Africa and it’s spearheading a new drive to boost tourism in Benin. A voiced AFPTV report.

Italy sending almost 500 troops to fight migrant flows in Africa

Italy’s to send almost 500 troops to the border between Niger and Libya, saying it wants to control human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants.

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G5 Sahel summit at Celle-Saint-Cloud in France

French President Emmanuel Macron hosts five African presidents in Celle-Saint-Cloud outside Paris on Wednesday, hoping to bolster the fledging G5 Sahel force fighting jihadists in an area the size of Europe. Two years in the planning, the force brings together troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger in a desert region plagued by extremism where France is currently leading counterterrorism operations. IMAGES roundtable

Armed US drones to start flying combat missions over Niger – reports

Armed American drones will soon begin flying over Niger following approval of their use by the West African nation. The move marks a significant expansion of the US military’s footprint in this part of Africa, where its reach has so far been limited.

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Fledgling ‘G5’ force ventures into Sahel hotspots

A new military force called the “G5 Sahel” has begun its fight jihadists and armed groups in Mali. The international coalition, which includes Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Chad, is supported by French forces. The region has long been an area where jihadists and other armed groups can operate easily thanks to its wide open desert and porous borders.