News President Hollande - a frustratingly minimalist domestic reformer but a bold, global statesman

The French President has been criticised for his interventions in Mali and CAR but insists it is not old-fashioned paternalism but a mission to save lives

Car bomb kills two UN peacekeepers in Mali town Kidal

A car bomb has exploded in the Malian town of Kidal, killing at least two UN peacekeepers.

Africa Express, gig review: 'Sparks are struck'

Oval Space, London

There are 400 French soldiers already on the ground in the Central African Republic

At least 30 dead after Mali boat sinks in Niger River

Sleeping passengers onboard were awoken by the sound of the boat breaking in half

Album review: Sidi Touré, Alafia (Thrill Jockey)

With a largely acoustic recording one might expect a certain amount of reserve and introspection. But that’s certainly not the case with this Malian singer-songwriter’s third album.

Album: Mulatu Astatke, Sketches of Ethiopia (Jazz Village)

Astatke’s 1970s back catalogue only gained worldwide recognition through the Ethiopiques compilations and songs featured in Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers.

A man casting his vote for Mali’s next president in Timbuktu

High turnout in Mali’s first election since coup

The West African nation of Mali voted in presidential elections on Sunday just 16 months after the country descended into chaos in the wake of a coup led by mid-ranking army officials.

The French aerial display team Patrouille de France (French Aerobatic Patrol) flies in front of the Eiffel tower as part of the traditional Bastille day military parade,

Mali fighters take pride of place in annual Bastille parade

Detachments of the French and Malian troops who defeated Islamist rebels in Mali earlier this year took pride of place in France’s traditional Bastille Day military parade along the Champs Elysées  today.

Jihadists from many countries – these are from Iraq – are travelling to Syria

Theresa May urges action on 'jihad tourism'

Home Secretary leads EU discussions on how to tackle terror threat from extremists returning from combat in Syria

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram

US offers $23m bounty for Islamists in Africa

Betraying new anxiety about the threat of Islamic militant groups in West Africa, Washington is for the first time offering rewards totalling $23m (£15m) for information leading to the capture of their top leaders in the region including Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, based in Nigeria.

Album: Samba Touré, Albala (Glitterbeat Records)

What's sometimes missing with guitar-centred African records is a sense of air and space. But that's not so here.

President Hollande was given the first camel in February

Mali presents François Hollande with a new camel after the first one was eaten by the family caring for it

There was, finally, some good news for President François Hollande today.

France begins troop withdrawal ahead of UN peacekeeping mission in Mali

France has started withdrawing its troops from Mali after an operation to help local forces push back an offensive by Islamist rebels, an army spokesman said.

Al-Qa’ida extremists attack Timbuktu

The ancient city of Timbuktu in Mali has been hit by a prolonged battle between Islamic extremists and the Malian and French armies.

Album: Bombino, Nomad (Nonesuch)

Even though the production by Black Keys man Dan Auerbach is way too cavernous and bootleg live-sounding for my tastes, this album should satisfy anyone needing a dry blast of desert rock while waiting for the next album from Tinariwen.

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