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U.N. Warns Mali Insurgents Threaten Locust Control Efforts July 20, 2012
Desert locust swarm
“Swarms could move to Mauritania, Algeria, Libya and even southern Morocco as well as threaten crops during the harvest period in the Sahel of west Africa.” — Keith Cressman.
Advancing swarms of desert locusts threaten to wreak further havoc on parts of northern Mali currently suffering an armed rebellion by Islamist zealots.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a statement that it is unable to provide relief and locust eradication measures to Mali’s vast desert north “because of political conflict.”

Heavy rains and a subsequent explosion of vegetation this year have created ideal conditions for locusts to breed and spread across Mali and neighboring Niger.

But the radical Islamists in Mali have been imposing sharia law and looting U.N. trucks and equipment that had been dispatched to cope with the swarms.

UNFAO senior locust forecasting officer Keith Cressman told reporters that good breeding conditions this year meant a second generation of locusts could hatch by the end of the Sahara summer, posing a threat across a wide swath of the Sahel.

Photo: U.N. FAO