In this month’s special, the ZAM Chronicle launches ‘Hearts and Minds’: a preview of the ‘War on Terror’ transnational investigation conducted by our partners in the African Investigative Publishing Collective. We take this opportunity to present the team members who undertook this difficult, lengthy and often risky assignment.
Hamza Idris is the politics editor at Daily Trust in Nigeria. Born in Jos, Plateau State, he went to University in Maiduguri, which was later to be the birth place of the violent Boko Haram movement. For the past ten years, Idris has reported from Nigeria’s massacres-riddled North-eastern region on the worst security challenge ever facing his country. Idris joined the ‘War on Terror’ investigation because it exposes and questions “mindless inhumanity,” the award-winning reporter says, “bringing to the fore the humanitarian crisis and the need to end the violence.”
Muno Gedi At 25 years of age, Muno Gedi has already ventured deep into conflict- and violence-riddled regions in her country, Somalia, to report on clan wars and the stances of the Somali people with regard to the militant Al Shabaab movement. She has also investigated the reality behind the decreasing practice of female circumcision in her country and the trade in food aid in and around Mogadishu’s refugee camps. Like those of other journalists, her continuous efforts to hold the Somali government accountable for corruption, mismanagement and neglect of people’s needs are not without risks: forty-five journalists have been murdered in her country in the past ten years.
Bram Posthumus has 25 years of experience living in and reporting on (mostly) West and Southern Africa. Currently based in Ouagadougou, he reports on political, cultural and economic events for The Economist Group, Deutsche Welle, The Africa Report, De Groene Amsterdammer, ZAM Chronicle and many others. For the ‘War on Terror’ investigation he looked at the role played by Western security initiatives in the West African region, such as Operation Serval, Operation Barkhane and the Trans Sahel Counter Terrorism Partnership. His book “Masks, Music and Minerals”, a portrait of the Republic of Guinea, is due out in 2016.
Magdy Samaan reports from Cairo, Egypt on the many pressing issues racking the Middle East. For his first transnational investigation in 2007 –‘The Quest for El Dorado’ on African migration - he followed the ‘death route’ in the Sinai desert, undertaken by migrants attempting to reach Israel. In 2015, he followed migrants again, but this time on the route from Greece to Germany. In the ZAM Chronicle, also last year, he revealed how atheism is becoming a new trend among progressive Egyptian youth. For the ‘War on Terror’ investigation, Samaan has dug deep into the minds and PR activities of fundamentalist Islamist ideologues.
David Dembele Based in Bamako, Mali, David Dembele works with the Depeches du Mali news agency. In an earlier transnational cooperation he investigated Australian mining companies in Africa. For ‘War on Terror’ he joined the African Investigative Publishing Collective’s effort, travelling more than a thousand kilometers (and back) to check the post-jihadi-invasion state of the world heritage site Timbuctu and neighbouring Gao.
Ibro Ibrahim is a Kenyan investigative journalist of Somali descent. He prefers to remain anonymous and operate under pseudonym because of his – undercover- investigations into police and army death squads in Kenya. His name and record are known to ZAM.