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On the Margins Media Roundup (March)

[The United Nations World Food Programme distributes food in Bamako, Mali, following the displacement of over 380,000 Malians. Image by DFID/ Flickr.] [The United Nations World Food Programme distributes food in Bamako, Mali, following the displacement of over 380,000 Malians. Image by DFID/ Flickr.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to]  


Somalia Donors Step Up To Help With Rebuilding Efforts Major Western donors announce aid for Somalia to promote stability and recovery.

Somalia’s humanitarian needs should come first The author argues that recent million-dollar pledges to the fragile Somali government may be misguided.

Rights group urges U.N. not to lift Somalia arms embargo Amnesty International warns the United Nations Security Council not to lift the twenty-one year-old arms embargo, describing the idea as premature. 

Somalia UN arms embargo must stay in place-AI The author reports that “without adequate safeguards, arms transfers may expose Somali civilians to even greater risk and worsen the humanitarian situation.”

Go After the Rapists in Somalia, Not Their Victims Zainab Hawa Bangura argues that the nascent Somali government has reinforced the culture of silence and stigma surrounding sexual violence by going after rape victims.

Somalis enjoy first major music concert in two decades Once al-Shebab pulled out, the music ban faded away and Mogadishu has seen rapid growth and developments in the music sector.

First all-woman radio in Somalia to launch French radio, RFI, conducts a brief report on the launch of a new radio entirely staffed with women, which began broadcasting on International Women's Day.


Mauritania receives Mali president Mali's Dioncounda Traore wraps up a visit with Mauritania's Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz following several meetings discussing the security situation in the region.

Govt Mulls Mali Deployment Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz announced his country could take on a more active role in the war in northern Mali.

Mauritanian President Sues French Green MEP Over 'Drugs Godfather' Claim

Mamère Withdraws Drugs Slur Against Mauritania's Abdel Aziz Following a legal spat between French MEP Noël Mamère, and Abdel Aziz, Mamère withdrew his comments that referred to Abdel Aziz as a "drugs godfather."

Mauritanian youth groups hold protest Jemal Oumar reports that activists from the 25 February Youth Movement aim to "make the state a servant of the people."

Mauritania Plans National Elections Mauritania announces that it will be holding elections in September. The last legislative elections took place in 2007.


Djibouti ruling party declares election victory, opposition says flawed Abdourahim Arteh reports on the disputed result of the parliamentary election, which raises the possibility of instability.

Observers Declare Djiboutian Election Legitimate, Opposition Plans Protest Despite the presence over over sixty international observers at twelve different voting centers, the Djiboutian opposition, the Union for National Salvation (USN), protests the results and process of the elections.

Djibouti police battle crowds protesting election result Protesters challenge the recent election results, which yielded the opposition's first ever seat in the assembly.

Djiboutian Clerics Sentenced for Post-Election Violence Following protests against the elections results, three clerics were charged and sentenced to jail time in what the court describes as "inciting violence."

Comoros islands

Paris Club cancels Comoros debt The Paris Club cancels Comoros' debt which amounted to about eight million dollars.

Farmers On the Comoros Celebrate First Fairtrade Sales Sixty Fairtrade producers in Comoros reap the benefits of the extra income of their first premium from recent sales.

Other Countries


Refugee, IDP Numbers Rise As Fighting Continues The author reports that the UN Refugee Agency Seeks $35 Million to Assist Thousands Uprooted by Conflict.

Displaced people hesitate to return home Instability, insecurity, and impossibility to generate income discourage people from returning home.

The road to Timbuktu, a journey through the Malian conflict Will Wintercross describes how he was met with scenes of 21st century military technology being deployed to expel Islamic extremists determined to enforce 10th century Sharia law.

Telegraph finds al-Qaeda plan in Timbuktu The record of the thirty-third meeting of the leadership of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was found by the Daily Telegraph in Timbuktu.

Thanks to their hubris, al-Qaeda’s Sahara 'princes’ are on the run David Blair shows how an attempt by the extremist Islamic group AQIM to grab more of northern Mali has left it in control of less.

Extremists clash with Mali forces Extremists linked to al-Qaeda claimed to have sent their fighters back into northern Mali's biggest city, less than a month after it was captured by French forces.

Does France Have an Exit Strategy?  The author analyses the impact of the recent spike in confrontations on France’s plan to pull out in March.

French Officials Warn ‘Success’ in Mali Won’t End Islamist Threat Bruce Crumley reports that the amorphous terrorist threat extremists pose makes full military victory a relative notion.

War in Mali reaches sensitive stage The ongoing violence forced Chadian President to urge his counterparts from the sub regional bloc ECOWAS to speed up the deployment of their troops.

Some hard lessons that may help in Mali Based on his extensive experience in counterinsurgency campaigns in South Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan,  Gary Anderson offers his perspective on how to best defend Mali.

How to Tackle Mali's Crisis in the Long Term Analysts point to the need for deep-seated reforms in the government and army if longer-term stability and development is to be attained.

UN Reports Serious Escalation of Retaliatory Violence By Government Troops

Mali's desert sounds saved by sim card The founder of the Sahel Sounds label and blog talks to World Music Matters about trading songs in the Sahara.

South Sudan

Sudan and South Sudan Sign Agreement of an Implementation Action Plan Both countries, under the agreement, are required to demilitarize the border.

Sudan, South Sudan Agree to Start Oil Flow Within Two Weeks

South Sudan Seeks Financial Assistance for Census and Elections The Sudanese government needs help to cover the ninety-five million dollar price tag.

Bishop combats ethnic tensions in South Sudan Bishop Taban Paride, the winner of the Sergio Vieira de Mello UN prize for peace, explains his efforts to foster better community relations in South Sudan.

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