News / Africa

A Look Inside Northern Mali

A Look Inside Northern Malii
|| 0:00:00
X
Idrissa Fall
July 26, 2012 2:06 PM
VOA reporter Idrissa Fall details his experiences reporting in Mali after the coup.
VOA reporter Idrissa Fall details his experiences reporting in Mali after the coup in this special edition of Reporter's Notebook:

"Well it was kind of scary because crossing the border from Niger to Mali you first come to the first checkpoint in an area called Labasanga. You see these young kids 16 to 18 years old with their guns.  Most of the time they look at you.  They don’t ask for papers.  They didn’t check my luggage.  They let us go with my driver and my fixer.  It is how we get inside Gao.  The most scary part was coming inside Gao and looking for rebels. And then you discover the city -- all the major leaders of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb are there.  And that change the whole reporting I was doing.

I was wearing local clothes, I looked like some guy who (1:05) put these Tuareg things on my face so nobody would know who I was.  But the day I went to interview a physician in the hospital and coming out and seeing these guys who look like Pakistanis or Afghanis who were asking who I was, speaking in English, then you get scared.  And when we went out of the hospital, my fixer told me this guy is from Iraq, I was saying, “Well, this is not a rebel-controlled area.  It looks like an area controlled especially by Islamist extremists.”

They are applying what they call Sharia, the Islamic law.  According to the Islamic law, when you steal something or you use drugs, they have the right according to law to cut your right hand [off].  And this kid when I met him, it looked like he lost his mind.  He’s wandering in the city asking for money and so I took pictures of him.  He couldn’t even explain what happened to him.  So he’s there wandering in the streets of Gao.

The churches were down. Nothing was left.  They took off the doors, the windows, everything in the name of Jesus Christ was taken off.  Really people go there to do their toilets [relieve themselves] now inside churches.  And it is the same thing for whatever was restaurants or bars selling alcohol.  Even the cyber cafes that you used to go to access the Internet… they destroyed everything.  It is the same for the banks.  They looted all the banks.  There are no banks working.  And the only bank left was the headquarters of the rebels.  And no money, no Western Union.  It is very, very tough.

The rule of Islamic law is women have to cover [up].  You know the hijab, when you see only the eyes? Now all the young ladies are wearing hijab.  They got the message, because if you don’t do it, you’re going to be in trouble.  On the other hand, I met this courageous woman.  Her name is Nafisatu Maige.  I remember her.  When I interviewed her, she said, "Listen, I used to wear a veil because of my own conviction as a Muslim.  But since the Islamists came and wanted to impose the hijab on me,  I am defying them.  I don’t wear a veil. I don’t wear a hijab.”  She’s driving her motorcycle every day.  Even she allowed herself to go into those meetings only reserved for men.  And she would go there to meet with the chief of security with a guy name Abdul Hakim, and she says she’s ready to die, she’s ready to be killed.  But she will not wear a veil.  Really it is a kind of courage and she was not the only one.

I think it is like Afghanistan, because you have Islamic [law], you have drug trafficking. You have hostages they take.  And the only difference in Afghanistan is that you have a military presence of the international community and there is nobody in the north in Mali.  You may have another Somalia.  You may have another Yemen.
 
I think we were the first international radio down there.  Being able to go in the field, even sometimes if it is dangerous, even for one day, being able to come back and tell to the world what’s going on there I think is very, very important.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid