The once-proud Touaregs -- the Blue Men of the Sahara -- are paying the price for their past actions.
The once-proud Touaregs -- the Blue Men of the Sahara -- are paying the price for their past actions. During their marauding years the Touaregs harrassed camel trains and kidnapped children to feed slavery and prostitution markets. But now the race has fallen ... the latest victims of the drought in the Sahelian belt of northern Africa. Eighty per cent of their cattle died last year and the remainder are dying fast.
The Touraegs have been forced to head south seeking help from nations they once plagued. They have not been welcomed with open arms. Mali is reported to have greeted them with open hostility. Thousands fled from there to Niger.
More than 15-thousand Touaregs have assembled in Lazaret Camp, just outside the Niger capital of Niamey. the camp is run by the Red Cross. The problem of feeding the displaced people is overwhelming. The Red Cross says it can only provide food once a week.
Now a new problem is threatening. The authorities have warned that a cholera epidemic could start any day because of the primitive sanitary conditions in the camp. The Red Cross says the epidemic could easily spread throughout the entire Sahelian Belt.