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On the Margins Roundup (October)

[Image of tugboats in Somalia's Mogadishu harbor. Image from Expert Infantry/Flickr.] [Image of tugboats in Somalia's Mogadishu harbor. Image from Expert Infantry/Flickr.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, 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] 


Lumumba's Assassination Should Be a Lesson for All of Us "The winners happen to have won thanks to our losing. The history of Africa's underdevelopment is an integral part of the history of world capitalism's development."

Fighting terrorists Mission failure In the first major response to the terrorist attack on the Westgate shopping mall, US Navy Seals led a failed raid in search of the man who masterminded the attack.

Al-Qaeda returns the new face of terror The West thought it was winning the battle against jihadist terrorism. It should think again.

Of waffle and remittances "No aid can be as great and effective as this instrument," on Barclays plans to close the accounts of the remitters.

Cut-Rate Counterterrorism Why America can no longer afford to outsource the war on al-Shabab.

Africa's Phoenix “Do not let al-Shabab fool you: Somalia is making progress. But the West needs to change its approach.”

After Botched U.S. Raid, Somalis Fear Looming War With Al-Shabab “This botched raid will boost the morale and embolden al-Shabab to further their terror activities.”

Turkish aid in Somalia: the irresistible appeal of boots on the ground Donors prepared to risk working side by side with the Somali government in Mogadishu will win favor and contracts.

Somali President Brings Optimism, Despite Al Shabaab Attack Somalia’s president: “specific, but realistic” about development in the country.

Somalis in Kenya fear backlash after Westgate siege Following the Westgate shopping centre siege in Kenya, Nairobi’s Somali residents say they are living in fear of revenge attacks against them.

Poaching funds Somalia's al Shabaab, activists say  Al Shabaab is being partly financed by the illegal ivory trade, a wildlife group said. The trade could be supplying up to forty percent of the Islamist group’s funds.

In pictures: Islamists storm Nairobi mall Al Shabaab Islamic militants armed with AK-47s launched a bloody attack on the Westgate mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Mo Farah Mo Farah reveals the story behind his twelve-year separation from his brother and best friend Hassan in Telegraph Sport's first exclusive extract from his autobiography.

Pirates and warlords aside, Michele Ballarin believes she can turn Somalia around Michele Ballarin, a Northern Virginia businesswoman, says she has negotiated with Somali pirates and warlords in her efforts to try to save the war-torn country.


Le président de IRA invité par l’UE pour parler de l’esclavage en Mauritanie (IRA) EU human rights committee will be hearing from Mauritania anti-slavery activist Biram Ould Abeid.

Black Mauritanians Suffer 'Slavery-Like' Conditions, Says UN Generations of Africans face incestuous rape and discrimination in country that is west's ally against al-Qaida, says rights expert.

Modern-Day Slave Finds Freedom in the Desert One man's extraordinary journey from slavery to freedom - and the obstacles he overcame to free his family - offers rare insight into a little-known world.

Mauritania reeling from unprecedented flooding Due to flooding, Some eight hundred thousand Mauritanians, or twenty percent of the population, is estimated by WFP to be food insecure.

World Bank Group Launches New Country Partnership Strategy for Mauritania "The Bank's involvement will support job creation related to the country's booming mining industry, help develop the private sector in cities, and improve access to much-needed social services.”

Un climat glacial s'installe entre Bamako et Nouakchott The absence of Mauritanian’s president to the inauguration ceremony reflect the degradation of diplomatic relations between both nations.

Arrestation de 10 autres militants antiesclavagistes à Boutilimit (IRA) Arrest of ten antislavery activists at Boutilimit in Mauritania. 


Militarized Djibouti  The evils of militarism and extreme poverty: “It is a brutal, militarized world, it is aggressive and definitely not at peace with itself.”

Djibouti tells US to remove drones from its airport  Djibouti is growing increasingly concerned about drone crashes that could harm civilians or crash into commercial aircraft. 

U.S. Military Relocates Drone Fleet From Djibouti Base The Pentagon says it is moving its fleet of drones off Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti - the only U.S. military base in Africa. 

Djibouti, Droned to Drowsiness The author analyses the implications of the Pentagon’s decision to move its fleet of drones off Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

Djibouti - The UN’s Forgotten Crisis Despite hosting a US military base and a French naval base, Djibouti’s humanitarian crisis is largely ignored by the international community.

Djibouti’s U.S$600 Million rail to link Ethiopia, South Sudan Djibouti said that its rail project under construction will facilitate business activities and improve revenue for countries in the East African region. 

Comoros Islands

Déclaration de la mission des services du FMI dans l'Union des Comores Statement by the IMF Mission to the Union of the Comoros.

$20.1m from AfDB to bankroll Comoros energy project The AfDB has approved 20.1 million dollars to bankroll a project for the refurbishment of energy plants and the rebuilding of the country’s overall electricity sector. 

Other Countries


The Appeal of the Shadows and the Destruction of Democracy Ibrahim Boubakar Keïta must learn not to make the mistakes of his predecessors if Mali is to make meaningful progress.

Malian Force Battles Tuareg Rebels in the North The Malian forces in the northern town of Kidal say they have come under intense gun fire from the separate Tuareg rebels group for the second time in the town.

Timbuktu Is Calling…To Mali Or Not To Mali? Until the music can return to its roots with freedom of expression and dignity, the Festival au Desert has become a Festival in Exile.

The plight of Mali's displaced children BBC's West Africa correspondent, Thomas Fessy, reports on the conditions at the camp of Mberra, in Mauritania.

Mali's rescued manuscripts must go back to Timbuktu Spirited out of the city under the noses of jihadists; the literary treasures face conservation problems in Bamako's humidity.

Timbuktu Suicide Bombing Raises Fears Of Renewed Violence In Mali New fears that Islamist rebels could be resurgent, although analysts caution that local politics may play a greater role in the renewed tensions.

Mali: unrest since new president's election Key events in the West African state of Mali since former prime minister Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won a presidential election in August and vowed to unite the country.

Al Qaeda ‘terror blueprint’ for North Mali revealed An al Qaeda document meant to serve as a blueprint shows leader Abdelmalek Droukdel argued that Sharia law should only be implemented slowly, in order to win the trust of locals.

La globalisation des élections africaines This essay studies the ways in which migrations and new voting rights in Africa s impact the origin countries’ polity.

Suspected Islamist fighters attack northern Mali city Suspected Islamist militants hit the northern Malian city of Gao with artillery fire in the first attack on the insurgents' former stronghold in months.

Slow Healing for Mali Hospitals Healthcare has been severely impaired throughout northern Mali, where the militant Islamists seized key towns during the crisis.

The Malian Griot in the Modern Era Interview with Malian musician, Bassekou Kouyate, at The Sugar Club, Dublin. 

South Sudan

On Fashion Runway, South Sudan Takes Steps Toward a National Identity How fashion is changing the face of Sudan and helping create a national identity.

Over 19,000 refugees flee conflict in eastern South Sudan: UN More than 19,000 people have fled fighting raging in the east of South Sudan and sought refuge in neighboring countries since the start of the year, the United Nations said. 

South Sudan’s Army Faces Accusations of Civilian Abuse Western observers are now worried that the armed forces in a country they helped create have been preying on civilians.

Traditional Leaders Back Kiir's Move to Unite SPLM Members President Salva Kiir's efforts to unite members of his governing SPLM has attracted backing from traditional leaders, senior officials say.

South Sudanese critical of their police South Sudanese are critical of the country’s police force, according to a new report by the Sudd Institute, a local think tank.

Building schools in a new nation Beautiful footage of children getting an opportunity to go to school in South Sudan. 

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