In the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolts, the fight against militant Islam in this moderate swath of Africa has gained fresh urgency.
Aug. 7, 2012 Fighters from the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) stand guard in Gao, northern Mali. Burkina Faso's foreign minister, Djibril Bassole, the lead mediator in regional efforts to end unrest in Mali, told rebels there that they had to cut ties to "terrorist movements" such as al-Qaeda before any peace talks could begin. Today, the Islamist militants in Mali have imposed strict laws reminiscent of the Taliban in Afghanistan, banning television and soccer and ordering women to wear full-length robes. Reuters Buy Photo