Part two of this series explores northern Mali in 2012 as it falls to Tuareg separatists and their al-Qaeda rivals.
From the moment I was born, I was a rebel, because a person who grows up dispossessed and illiterate in the land of his ancestors becomes a rebel
Early in 2012, as the massive Tuareg rebellion sweeps northern Mali, defeated Mali Army officers stage a coup d’etat in the south leading to the total collapse of government in the country.
Tuareg rebels declare an independent state in the north called “Azawad”, but al-Qaeda emerges from the Sahara to take over historic Timbuktu, and compete with the secular rebels for control of northern Mali.
Isolated, illiterate and imploding from extreme poverty, Tuaregs provide the foot soldiers of both separatism and jihad.