• http://www.blogger.com/profile/15130206644052866501 Rachel Weisshaar
    Update: BBC News reports that on Tuesday, January 22, MNJ rebels abducted the mayor of Tanout, a Nigerien town, as well as 10 other townspeople. “BBC West Africa correspondent Will Ross says this attack by the rebels of the Niger Movement for Justice appears to be a strong warning intended to dissuade people from siding with the government forces,” says the article.
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06417365012432180423 TCN
    In order to understand the MNJ perspective, you need to research more on the contributing factors to the conflict, as well as the current political developments in Niger. The object of MNJ’s swift attack on Tanout was, as they stated, to intervene in a developing situation where the Prefet, a major government official, was taking actions to divide Nigeriens, and encouraging hate campaigns against the Tuareg people in his community. The central problem in the MNJ offensive is social inequality. The Tuaregs have been contesting their marginalization for decades, but they have been ignored, disrespected, intimidated, arrested, and murdered for speaking up. The first Tuareg rebellion in the 90s ended with a peace agreement. However, the government did not fulfill its part of the agreement, leaving the Tuareg people in the same situation as before. Thirteen years later, the Tuaregs have taken up arms again, because the government refuses to discuss it. The national army has been ineffective, and has resorted to (documented) human rights abuses. The government has resorted to labeling the MNJ and referring to Tuareg people in general as “terrorists,” and running hate campaigns on national TV, radio, and the Internet. The Defense Minister has issued an appeal for citizens to form “vigilance brigades,” and some local leaders have echoed his call. The Prefet of Tanout was creating an atmosphere of fear and repression in the local population, which includes many Tuareg civilians, by encouraging local non-Tuareg citizens to engage in accusations of their Tuareg neighbors in a witch-hunt that could lead to civil war. By contrast with the Niger power elite, which is secretive, corrupt, unreliable, and transparently prejudiced against the Tuaregs, the MNJ (which is Tuareg-led, but is composed of men from all ethnic groups in Niger) has shown itself to be transparent (via their blog) about their actions and intentions, upholding certain moral standards in the interest of *all* ethnic groups, and — most importantly — reliable.

    For more information, commentary and sources, visit: http://tuaregcultureandnews.blogspot.com/
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