Since February 2007 a group of mostly Tuareg rebels have been fighting a low-level insurgent war against the government of Niger. From a series of bases in the remote, arid Air Mountains, which sit astride vast seas of dunes of the Sahara, the rebellion seeks to gain a greater share of
the country’s uranium wealth and to prevent the fragile ecosystem of Tuareg pastoral lands from damage due to mining. The government has responded to the rebellion with increasing violence, calling the rebels drug traffickers and bandits and refusing to negotiate their political demands.
Niger is the world’s third largest supplier of uranium, and the price of uranium has skyrocketed as energy hungry economies like China increasingly look to the nuclear fuel to power their
These images were taken during three weeks of traveling with the Niger Movement for Justice, as the group is known, in April and May 2008. Because this remote region is completely cut off to the news media, these images offer a rare glimpse of the rebellion and the people it claims it is protecting.
The images also document the timeless yet changing way of life of the Tuareg people, whose nomadic livelihoods have been threatened by climate change, globalization, migration and mining.