It's hard to keep track of who is fighting who in the west African nation of Mali, but it appears that Islamist rebels have pushed secular Tuareg rebels out of a small town about 50 miles east of the border with Mauritania. As the Associated Press notes, the action comes about a week after militants captured the town of Ménaka, in eastern Mali, about 65 miles from the border with Niger.
Credit Johnathan Crawford / Courtesy of the artist
Sidi Touré is a Songhai singer-songwriter from the city of Gao in northern Mali. Though he grew up in a royal family, he sings the blues elegantly and in his own native language; interestingly, Touré has said he'd never heard American blues music until after his first album was released.
A rebellion in northern Mali, followed by a military coup in the south, has shattered the veneer of stability in a country that was hailed for 20 years as a model democracy in turbulent West Africa.
Now Mali is facing twin crises, prompting regional and international fears that the north — currently controlled by jihadists — is a terrorist safe haven. And the politicians who are meant to be fixing the problems are bickering.