Features

Somalia, Spaghetti and Pirates

Hanad and Abdi sit up against the courtyard wall in the clammy evening heat. A large straw mat has been laid out, which serves both to keep us off the insects and to catch all the pieces of khat leaves they are dropping as they chew the night away. Nearer the perimeter wall, Mohamed and…

Adventures in Hebron and Nablus

I refer to Palestine as that region otherwise known as the West Bank and Gaza and at least nominally under Palestinian political control. I refer separately to Israel as that region on the other side of the 1948 Armistice Line, the pre-1967 borders. I am fully aware that in the complex and convoluted geopolitics of…

Holiday in Abkhazia

“Take as much sovereignty as you can stomach!” was Boris Yeltsin’s message to the regions of Russia in the summer of 1990, as the Soviet Union was collapsing around him. Many areas did just this, and managed a peaceful transition to independence, with fifteen sovereign republics emerging from the ashes of the USSR. But even…

Road Trip to the D.R.C.

Ever since arriving in Angola for work last year, I had been pouring over maps of the region, examining what travel opportunities my new location afforded me. One neighbouring country in particular stood out: the Democratic Republic of Congo. The true heart of the Dark Continent, the Congo still seems to capture the imagination, over…

Sudan and Darfur: Same Old Same Old

It’s been four years since I stepped on the sands of The Sudan, so coming back felt both familiar and a bit strange. Arrivals at Khartoum airport seemed much the same, though arriving at 2.30 a.m. on a Turkish Airlines flight meant that more than half of the only 30 or so passengers on board…

Somalia: Mog-to-Kisimayo Road Trip (aborted)

Enough of this… In Mogadishu for how many days – running around in circles, militias in tow – adding to the quantity of armed men surrounding us every time we crossed an arbitrary barrier. Indeed, each time we had to cross into another warlord’s territory, another militia truck would have to be added to our…