The fading world of Mauritania’s Nemadi hunters

A family from the Nemadi tribe outside their tent in Loudeyatt, Eastern Mauritania. (AFP)
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Updated 03 February 2020

The fading world of Mauritania’s Nemadi hunters

  • Experts say the small ethnic group of black Mauritanians, also known as N’Madi, now numbers in the hundreds at most
  • In Loudeyatt, one of the nomadic Nemadi’s campsites, a dozen tents are home to about 50 people, and a few bleating goats

TICHITT, Mauritania: In the arid West African country of Mauritania, the way of life of the traditional group of hunters known as the Nemadi is slowly disappearing.
Experts say the small ethnic group of black Mauritanians, also known as N’Madi, now numbers in the hundreds at most, their livelihoods hit by repeated droughts and declining game.
Those that are left mostly scour the desert for ostriches, oryxes and white antelope to hunt.
In January, AFP traveled for five days between the desert hamlets of Tichitt and Aratane in central Mauritania, guided by three Nemadi: Ahmadou, his son Ahmed and a third man named Cheih.
All three, dressed in tunic-like robes, have abandoned their traditional way of life to become camel herders.
More and more Nemadi have given up their old ways since the great drought in the Sahel region in the 1970s. True hunter-gathers are now few and far between.
In Loudeyatt, one of the nomadic Nemadi’s campsites, a dozen tents are home to about 50 people, and a few bleating goats. There is also a French-language school, although it has few supplies.
The Nemadi have few physical possessions and traditionally, no livestock.
They are marginalized in wider Mauritanian society for their poverty, according to experts.
But some, such as Ahmadou, now own camels, a traditional symbol of wealth in Mauritanian society.


Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

Updated 18 min 34 sec ago

Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

  • There has been an upsurge in violence between Taliban and Afghan forces in the country
  • The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February, opening up a path toward withdrawing American troops from the conflict

KABUL: A suicide bomber struck near an education centre in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 18 people in the latest attack to rock the conflict-wracked country.
Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and the Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country's grinding war.
The suicide attack, which also wounded 57, happened late afternoon at the centre, which offers training and courses for students in higher education in a western district of Kabul.
"A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre," Tareq Arian, spokesman for the interior ministry, said in a statement.
"But he was identified by the centre's guards after which he detonated his explosives in an alley."
He said the attack had left at least 18 people dead and 57 wounded.
"I was standing about 100 metres from the centre when a big blast knocked me down," said local resident Ali Reza, who had gone to hospital with his cousin who was wounded in the blast.
"Dust and smoke was all around me. All those killed and wounded were students who wanted to enter the centre."
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Residents in several districts of western Kabul belong to the minority Shiite Hazara community, often targeted by Daesh militants. 
In the past, extremists have targeted several education centres and other facilities in the area.
In May, a group of gunmen launched a brazen daylight attack on a hospital in west Kabul that left several mothers dead. The gunmen were shot dead after hours of fighting with security forces.