The MNJ has taken up arms against the
government of Niger
The Sahara desert has been home to ethnic Tuaregs for thousands of years. They have maintained their nomadic existence - travelling, herding and living off the land. But it is an existence that is now under threat.

More than ten years on from a ceasefire many Tuareg are again fighting the government of Niger.

The Nigerien Movement for Justice (MNJ) is comprised of ethnic Tuaregs and members of other nomadic tribes. They took up arms in February 2007, demanding a greater share of the Sahara's natural resources.

In depth

 


Al Jazeera's exclusive on Niger's Tuareg rebels

These natural resources are potentially worth billions of dollars - Niger is the world's fourth-largest producer of uranium and, despite the fact that much of that uranium is found in Tuareg areas, the MNJ say their people see none of the profits.

The fighting has displaced many Tuareg civilians and the rapid desertification that has left three quarters of Niger covered in sand makes the search for pasture and water even more desperate.

Faced with an eroding habitat and what they say is hostility from a central authority to which they hold no loyalty, the Tuaregs nomadic existence seems more uncertain than ever.

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This episode of Africa Uncovered airs from Monday, August 25, 2008

Source: Al Jazeera