A Congo warlord – arrested for crimes against humanity – explains himself

Christian Science Monitor
Accra, Ghana

Our correspondent remembers Mathieu Ngudjolo as 'disconcertingly reasonable' (Tugela Ridley)
Our correspondent remembers Mathieu Ngudjolo as ‘disconcertingly reasonable’ (Tugela Ridley)

Kambutso is a typical African village of stick-framed huts plastered with mud set on a grass-covered hill in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo. On a clear day you can see the sparkling waters of Lake Albert to the east and the thick rain forest that covers the Ituri region to the west. When I visited in August 2006, a dark cloud loomed as wisps of mountain mist wreathed the banana groves and mango trees.

In less restless times it might have been a beautiful place to relax for a few days, but I was there to meet a notorious Congolese warlord, Mathieu Ngudjolo Tchui, a powerful military leader and veteran of ethnic fighting that had convulsed the region. Continue reading A Congo warlord – arrested for crimes against humanity – explains himself

In Timbuktu, a new move to save ancient manuscripts

Christian Science Monitor
Timbuktu, Mali

Curator Abdel Kader Haidara leafs through a delicate old pamphlet (Tugela Ridley)
Curator Abdel Kader Haidara leafs through a delicate old pamphlet (Tugela Ridley)

Abdel Kader Haidara carefully picks up one of a dozen small leather-bound books lying on his desk and leafs through the age-weathered pages covered in Arabic calligraphy.

This tiny book is centuries old and one of more than 100,000 manuscripts that can be found on shelves and in boxes in Timbuktu, the ancient Malian city of mud-brick walls nestled between the Niger River and the Sahara Desert. Continue reading In Timbuktu, a new move to save ancient manuscripts