Lost boys: What became of Liberia's child soldiers?

In the 1990s, Liberia was torn apart by a civil war in which child soldiers fought for the guerrilla leader Charles Taylor. As an international court delivers its verdict on Taylor, Finlay Young meets the former fighters back in Africa – now grown up, but not regretful of their past.

UN finds 115 bodies in western Ivory Coast

United Nations staff in western Ivory Coast have found more than 100 bodies in the past 24 hours, some burned alive and others thrown down a well, in a further sign of the ethnic violence gripping the country.

Ivory Coast war intensifies as battle for capital looms

Ivory Coast has been plunged back into civil war after a slow-burning election crisis developed into violence with forces loyal to the internationally recognised president-elect, Alassane Ouattara, poised to take the capital.

Power struggle over poll leads to armed clashes in Ivory Coast

Street gun battles in Ivory Coast's main city, Abidjan, left at least four dead yesterday as supporters of the man widely recognised as the winner of last month's presidential poll tried to wrest control of key state institutions from the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo.

Chasing the Devil: The Search for Africa's Fighting Spirit, By Tim

It's not unusual in West Africa to see dancing "devils" entertaining a crowd of amused local people. Tim Butcher encountered one shortly after crossing the border between Sierra Leone and Liberia, and he describes it in his new book as a masked figure – the headpiece carved from a single piece of jet-black wood – with a floor-length raffia skirt. Everyone knows there's a human being underneath, but the "devil" is accompanied by a young man who keeps brushing its skirt flat to maintain the illusion.

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The 16 women taking over the world

Women make up fewer than 8 per cent of the world’s country leaders. But with Julia Gillard’s election to prime minister of Australia things seem to be improving. She brings the tally of simultaneous female premiers to a record 16.

Welcome to Thebes, National Theatre, London

Moira Buffini is only the second woman to have a new work staged in the Olivier and no one could accuse her of failing to rise to the challenge. Her predecessor, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, dramatised the suffragette struggle for the vote in Her Naked Skin. Buffini, giving a modern twist to Greek myth and Attic tragedy, explores the plight of a female protagonist who becomes the first democratic president of a third-world country that is emerging from a brutal civil war. Ancient Thebes is re-imagined as a present-day African state, strongly reminiscent of Liberia. The play speculates on what would happen if Creon's wife, Eurydice, assumed power in an update of Sophocles' Antigone.