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Joe Penney

Joe Penney is a writer, filmmaker and photographer who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Lagos. He directed a documentary, "Sun of the Soil: The Story of Mansa Musa," about the reign of Mali's 14th-century king. Penney's articles and essays have been published by The Intercept, The New York Times, Quartz, Reuters and Paris journals. He was West African photo bureau chief for Reuters, and his pictures have appeared in Geo, Jeune Afrique, Le Monde, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Time, among others. He has photographed presidential elections in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone as well as the 2012 coup in Mali and the French military intervention in 2013, Mauritanian refugee camps, mining sites in Niger, migrants in the Sahel, counterterrorism campaigns in Cameroon, the 2013-2014 conflict in Central African Republic and the people's coup in Burkina Faso in 2014. Penney co-founded Sahelien.com, a news company covering the Sahel region, in 2013. In Africa, he has lived in Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal. He graduated from McGill University in Montreal and speaks English, French and Spanish.

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YEREVAN, GORIS and MEGHRI, Armenia — On Sept. 19, 2023, Narine Mirzoyan had just finished classes at the secondary school where she taught Armenian language and history. “I came home and was changing my clothes,” she said. “It was around …

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YEREVAN, Armenia — Since Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan came to office in 2018 on the heels of a democratic revolution in which he played a central role, his administration has faced numerous security and political crises. The protracted conflict …

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In April 2021, Islamic State jihadists overran the Mozambican town of Palma, killing dozens of people and forcing a standoff between insurgents and hundreds of civilians holed up at the Amarula Hotel. The vicious insurgency that started in 2017 had …

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As the United Nations Security Council plans to vote this week on the future of Minusma, its peacekeeping mission in Mali, the military officers in charge in Bamako will have their eyes on developments in Moscow, Minsk and the front …

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LAGOS — A little more than 11 years after a jihadist and Tuareg separatist alliance stormed northern Mali and wrested control of the main cities of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal from the Malian state, the two sides are set to …

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LAGOS — In January 2017, the Malian foreign minister under President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta organized Mali’s largest diplomatic event in years, the Africa-France summit. Thirty-five heads of state convened in the capital, Bamako, requiring close cooperation with the French presidency …

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On the next-to-last day of the globe’s largest talkfest by world leaders, Sept. 24, the United Nations may have been quiet and most of the police barricades may have been dismantled outside, but inside the Assembly Hall, two powerful, stern …

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SOCHI, Russia — As the Turkish presidential plane carried President Recep Tayyip Erdogan across the Black Sea from Sochi, Russia, back to Ankara last week, dozens of African heads of state arrived in this resort city for the inaugural Russia-Africa …

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Over the past eight months, we at the Mali-based independent news website Sahelien.com have been working on a documentary film called “The Forgotten Ones,” about the urgent security crisis in Mali’s Mopti region, where civilians, soldiers and United Nations peacekeepers …

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BAMAKO, Mali — The G5 Sahel Force was conceived to enable greater coordination among five countries in the Sahel region of West Africa in fighting jihadist groups and to strengthen regional administration and development while relieving the United Nations mission …

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BOBIGNY, France — On March 20, French President Emmanuel Macron stood before a crowd at the prestigious Académie Française in central Paris. With his trademark confidence and fastidious affect, he made his case for French as a global, 21st-century language unburdened by …

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A new series called “Peacebuilders,” offering a weekly podcast of interviews with a diverse array of African and other professionals on vital issues they confront in their work in East Africa, has been introduced by the Carnegie Corporation of New …

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TIMBUKTU — Down the road from the 700-year-old iconic Djinguereber mosque in this north-central Malian city lies the Al Qadi library, a private, family-owned collection holding hundreds of manuscripts from nearly a millennium ago. The manuscripts are priceless treasures of African …

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BAMAKO, Mali — At the bus station here in the capital this spring, tales of trepidation from besieged northern towns like Gao and Timbuktu, where Tuareg and Islamist rebels took power after a coup d’état in late March, were commonplace. …

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MBERA REFUGEE CAMP, Mauritania — One major fallout from the eruptions that began between Tuareg rebels in northern Mali and government troops last winter— spurred by NATO’s war in Libya, which sent thousands of Tuaregs back home to Mali with …

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