Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Le Monde isn't a propaganda machine it seems!

Thrilled today to see an article in the French press.

http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2016/04/29/un-vent-de-colere-contre-le-quai-d-orsay-souffle-sur-le-sahel_4910753_3212.html

Yes, it's in French but no doubt google will be your friend to translate it.

It talks about the government's security warnings (this could apply to most Western governments) that they continually shade parts of Africa.  Red means the region is extremely dangerous and off limits which then downgrades to grey, yellow then green.  This isn't to say that there aren't dangerous areas that you really shouldn't be stepping foot in at the moment with AQIM or Boko Haram in situ, but as I've always said you need to keep an ear to the ground locally.  Reading the news, listening to the radio etc isn't going to give you the real lowdown on the local situation, local residents will!

This was put to the test last week by the company 'Control Risks' who 24h after the event, warned their clients that the Bouna region had flared up with a mail entitled "Côte d'Ivoire - Northern border areas: Clashes in Niamoue underline potential for violence, need to avoid non-essential travel".  In actual fact this situation was a small affair that I heard about a few hours after it happened and was in touch with UN contacts who were then alerted to it and see if it was a repeat of the situation in March 2016.  It wasn't, but two Lobi who refused to stop at a checkpoint in Niamoin (not Niamoue) and were shot, unfortunately there was a revenge attack against the gendarmes involved who also lost their lives.  A very local incident that unfortunately sent unnecessary alarm bells ringing elsewhere!

So back to the article; the African nations implicated Mauritania & Mali are mentioned amongst others, a little annoyed that their nations are ablaze with red and yellow on their maps.  Yet Belgium, parts of France remain green and therefore 'safe', as does Turkey.  Where's the logic after all the attacks in Europe and Turkey?

However, it's also widely known that if you do travel to these red zones, many travel insurance policies are invalid should you need assistance.  It really doesn't help tourism, nor peoples feelings and fears about this wonderful region of Africa.  This has been a pet hate of mine for some time now, it's unnecessary to throw a blanket over a whole country, yes, there are problems that come up from time to time as they do in Europe. Like many of my friends, I feel safer in the West Africa region than I do in many big cities in Europe!

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