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20 Children Ditched by Smugglers Perish in Sahara

They were part of a group of 34 migrants

(Newser) - A group of nearly three dozen migrants, most of them kids, paid smugglers to whisk them out of Niger and Nigeria and to a new life to the north—but instead paid the ultimate price. The five men, nine women, and 20 minors were found dead Sunday in the Sahara,...

US Secretly Training Commandos in Africa

And on the verge of doing the same in Syria

(Newser) - The US military has been secretly training counterterrorism commandos in a handful of African countries, the New York Times reveals today, in the hopes of creating elite, homegrown foes for groups like al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. The Pentagon is spending almost $70 million on the plan, drawing on classified funds,...

Gadhafi Son Handed Back to Libya

Saadi Gadhafi to face charges of killing protesters

(Newser) - After years of very comfortable house arrest in Niger, one of Moammar Gadhafi's surviving sons is now in Libyan custody. Saadi Gadhafi, who fled Libya for Niger as his father's regime collapsed in 2011, was extradited from the West African country today and is now in a Tripoli...

72 Women, Kids Rescued in Sahara

Group was stranded when truck broke down

(Newser) - A delegation on its way to visit the burial place of 92 migrants who died of thirst in northern Niger saved 72 women and children from dying in the same unforgiving part of the Sahara. The group, 20 women and 52 children, were on their way back from Algeria when...

Desert Yields Bodies of 92 Thirst Victims

Thousands try cross-Sahara journey seeking work

(Newser) - Earlier reports suggested that about 35 people , apparently migrants seeking work, had died of thirst in a Niger desert—but the remains of more than double that number have been discovered by rescue teams, reports the AP . The 92 highly decomposed bodies appeared to have been scavenged by jackals, rescue...

Dozens Die of Thirst After Desert Stranding

5 bodies discovered following vehicle's breakdown near Sahara

(Newser) - Statements don't get much bleaker than this: "About 40 Niger people, including numerous children and women, who were attempting to emigrate to Algeria, died of thirst in mid-October." That's what the mayor of Agadez, Niger, tells the AFP , which reports that one of two vehicles carrying...

39K Girls Forced to Marry Each Day
 39K Girls 
 Forced to Marry 
 Each Day 
new study

39K Girls Forced to Marry Each Day

UN survey of 42 countries shows more than a third of girls married

(Newser) - How young is too young to get married? In many countries, the answer to that question would disturb you. A new UN Population Fund survey of 42 countries found that more than a third of all girls under the age of 18 in them are married, many presumably against their...

Obama: Our Mission in Niger Has Begun

At least 100 military personnel stationed next to Mali

(Newser) - President Obama told Congress today that he has sent troops to Niger to support France's mission against militants in neighboring Mali, Reuters reports. But the deployment of about 100 military personnel will only set up a base for unarmed aircraft to conduct surveillance, he wrote in a letter. He...

French, Mali Forces Re-Take City After Rebel Canoe Raid

Analysts warn this could be start of guerrilla campaign

(Newser) - It may be too soon to call Mali "mission accomplie," after Islamic rebels renewed fighting in the eastern city of Gao last night, reports the Christian Science Monitor . About a dozen rebels sneaked across the Niger River over the weekend in canoes, placing snipers on buildings to fire...

Niger (Yes, Next to Mali) to Host US Drones

Deal opens possibility of US military presence

(Newser) - Niger's president has agreed to let the US use the country—which borders Mali—as a base for surveillance drones, a source tells Reuters . The drones would be used to spy on militants with al-Qaeda ties in Mali and the Sahara as a whole, according to the insider, who...

African Troops Join Battle for Mali

11 civilians dead in first days of fighting

(Newser) - The first days of the battle against Islamic extremists holding Mali's north have left at least 11 civilians dead, including three children who threw themselves into a river and drowned trying to avoid falling bombs, a presidential spokesman said today as troops from Mali's neighbors are expected to...

Worst Place to Be a Mom: Niger
 Worst Place to Be a Mom: Niger 

Worst Place to Be a Mom: Niger

US inches up from 31st to 25th: Save the Children report

(Newser) - Good news for American moms: The United States is a slightly better place to be a mother than it was last year, according to Save the Children's 13th annual report on the topic. The US rose from 31st to 25th place in its look at 165 countries. For the...

There Were 2 Crazy Plots to Smuggle Out Gadhafi's Son

Plans to get al-Saadi Gadhafi out of Libya were 'Indiana Jones-style'

(Newser) - The strange story of the plot to smuggle al-Saadi Gadhafi into Mexico gets stranger: Prosecutors now say they actually broke up two plots to get Moammar Gadhafi's playboy son out of Libya and into Mexico, plots that the AP calls "Indiana Jones-style." A Canadian woman, Danish man,...

Mexico: We Busted Plot to Smuggle in Gadhafi Son

Al-Saadi planned to hit resort, now in Niger

(Newser) - Mexico says it has uncovered and dismantled an elaborate plot to smuggle al-Saadi Gadhafi into the country and set him up with a new name and identity. The evidently well-funded plotters, which included a Canadian, two Mexicans, and a Dane, flew private jets around Mexico setting up bank accounts and...

Gadhafi Son Claims Innocence
 Gadhafi Son Claims Innocence 

Gadhafi Son Claims Innocence

ICC says it has evidence Saif hired mercenaries to attack civilians

(Newser) - Moammar Gadhafi's son and one-time heir apparent has told the International Criminal Court that he is innocent of the charges against him. The ICC, however, says it has evidence that Saif al-Islam Gadhafi—who has been using intermediaries to explore his options for surrender —is guilty of war...

Gadhafi Son May Surrender to World Court

Saif al-Islam is on the run, wanted for war crimes

(Newser) - Moammar Gadhafi's one-time heir apparent is apparently out of options and looking to turn himself in to the world court in the Hague, reports Reuters . Saif al-Islam Gadhafi has been on the run since Sirte fell and is said to be near the Niger border. He and top Gadhafi...

Gadhafi Son Living in Luxury in Niger

Saadi Gadhafi staying in 'playboy hideaway' next to presidential palace

(Newser) - Life in exile in Niger is looking pretty peachy for Saadi Gadhafi. The Gadhafi son, who fled over Libya's southern border earlier this week , is living in luxury in a state guesthouse next to Niger's presidential palace, according to the Telegraph . Numerous generals loyal to the deposed dictator...

Gadhafi Son Flees to Niger
 Gadhafi Son 
 Flees to Niger 

Gadhafi Son Flees to Niger

Niger agrees to allow Saadi Gadhafi to enter on humanitarian grounds

(Newser) - With several tank and military vehicle convoys fleeing Libya and rolling into Niger, rumors are swirling about which high-level government officials they may be moving. At least one was transporting a Gadhafi—not Moammar, but his soccer-playing, movie-investing third son, Saadi, reports the BBC . Niger government officials said they agreed...

Libyan Convoy Rolls Into Niger
 Libyan Convoy Rolls Into Niger 

Libyan Convoy Rolls Into Niger

Could contain Gadhafi or sons, as speculation swirls about destination

(Newser) - A large military convoy consisting of 200 to 250 vehicles entered Niger from Libya yesterday, leading many to speculate it might include Moammar Gadhafi or one of his sons, reports the AFP . One report claimed the convoy was heading through Niger on the way to Burkina Faso, a country that...

International Women's Day: Yemen Has the Lowest Ranking in How it Treats Female Citizens
 5 Worst Countries for Women 

5 Worst Countries for Women

Yemen, Congo, Niger among lowest ranking

(Newser) - To mark International Women's Day, AoL News takes note of countries that treat their women the worst. The findings are based on a UN index that factors in categories such as jobs, education, political representation, and reproductive health. The worst offenders:
  1. Yemen: Its female citizens routinely face "violence and

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