Peter Chilson

Tuareg war refugees in Burkina Faso

I visited the Mentao Red Cross Refugee Camp in northern Burkina Faso in May 2012 to talk to Tuareg and Arab refugees from the civil war in neighboring Mali. The camp is 30 miles from the border with Mali, where the conflict had produced a half million refugees, about 100,000 in Burkina Faso. The war was still fresh and the Mentao camp was receiving thousands of new arrivals every day, fleeing the coalition of jihadist groups who overran northern Mali. The Tuareg men in this picture, merchants and cattle herders, had been in the camp only a few days. Ironically, as a journalist, I was something of a refugee myself, having been forced to flee into Burkina Faso after rebels of the Malian jihadist group Ansar Dine threatened to attack the village in Mali where I was doing interviews.