The Kalashnikov On The Passenger Seat

Yesterday we entered Mali. As the political situation is critical at the moment, we were forced to get escorted by the Malian police and military. We had to drive all the way from the Mauritanian border to Mali’s capital, Bamako, in one day.

You got a weird feeling, when a heavy-armed soldier is sitting next to you in your car and you’re driving twelve hours in order to reach the mandated destination: Bamako, Mali.

Three other tourists, a Polish couple and Harald from Germany (next to Zainab), crossed the border by car on the same day. None of us knew that we’d get an escort.

We all had to stay overnight at the military fort of Nioro, a bigger town close to the frontier. In the evening we were asked to meet the local chiefs of police and military.

There we had to pay a high-handed amount of money for all together two police men and two soldiers, who escorted us on our way hundreds of miles through Mali.

All men, armed with Kalashnikov rifles (also known as “AK-47”) and carrying a bunch of magazines, were sitting next to us in our cars, telling us not to stop. Finally, right before sunset, we reached the required destination, Mali’s capital, Bamako.

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