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Mali, present and past

10 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 22 January 2013

French troops – 2,000 of them – are on the ground in Mali, a key component of a multinational force fighting Islamic rebels in the country’s north. Questions have been raised about the history of French colonialism in the region, but Mark Doyle finds a more interesting alliance – between France and English-speaking Nigeria, two countries that previously vied for influence across west Africa.

Also, Nick Thorpe recalls a trip across the desert of northern Mali thirty years ago. Kidnappings weren’t a big concern then, but car breakdowns and the loneliness of endless stretches of sand were hazards more likely to strike the intrepid traveller.

Stories presented by Pascale Harter.


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