Translate page with Google

Story Publication logo September 8, 2011

Peter Gwin Interviewed on Tuareg Mercenaries in Libyan Army

Author:
Media file: sahara.jpg
English

Smuggling, banditry, and political unrest have long plagued large swathes of the Sahara, but in...

Peter Gwin on CNN 2011.

The media associated with this story is no longer available online.

They are the Kurds of Africa, an ancient stateless people with their own language, a minority spread across several countries, weathered by their harsh surroundings.

And like the Kurds, the Tuareg are now at the center of international attention. Some are helping Moammar Gadhafi loyalists escape Libya across the endless expanses of the Sahel. Many more are trapped in Libya, trying to escape its post-revolutionary chaos.

Gadhafi often turned to the nomadic Tuareg to bolster his forces and his attempts to manipulate and destabilize the poor countries to the south of Libya: Niger, Chad and Mali. The Tuareg were capable mercenaries. And there was a hint of romance in the arrangement -- Gadhafi has always painted himself as a desert Bedouin.

Peter Gwin, a journalist with National Geographic, has visited Tuareg areas of Mali and Niger frequently. He says one Tuareg who had visited many Libyan army bases told him that even before the uprising against Gadhafi began there were some 10,000 Tuareg fighters in the Libyan military.

Read the full article on CNN.

Support our work

Your support ensures great journalism and education on underreported and systemic global issues