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A show produced with photos, videos and personal accounts from our Observers around the world - all checked by our staff here in Paris. Saturday at 9.45 am Paris time.

THE OBSERVERS

THE OBSERVERS

Latest update : 2012-02-24

Tuaregs taking up arms in Mali, 'magical' hunters in Ivory Coast, escaped rhinos in Japan, and more...

This show is made up entirely of amateur images. We've seen time and time again how images captured by ordinary citizens then uploaded onto the Web can change history, or at least shift the balance of power. This week, we take a look back at some of those moments.

STORY 1: MALI

We begin today in the Sahel, the grasslands south of the Sahara Desert. The region is home to the nomadic Tuareg people - and, for the last, month, a little-known war... Tuareg rebels have been battling the government of Mali, fighting for independence. As in any war, the suffering has spread to civilians, who've been fleeing by thousands. Our Observer Hassan Midal has been trying the help them.

STORY 2:  IVORY COAST


Now to Ivory Coast and the head of the nation's new military police. His name is Koné Zakaria. He helped Alassane Ouattara defeat his rival Laurent Gbagbo, and now his job is to disarm the various groups who fought in last year's civil war. Commander Zakaria is also a dozo - a member of a society of traditional hunters, who are believed to have magical powers. They wear charms known as "gris gris," for instance, that supposedly protect them from bullets. The dozos played an important role in the war, and the commander recently brought them together to cement their support. Our Observer, a Frenchman who lives in Abidjan, was there.

STORY 3: WORLD


Now for our weekly roundup of the best images and stories sent in by our Observers.

First stop, Moscow, with a video the ruling party is not happy about. Our Observer Yevgeny filmed a woman he says was giving out bribes for people to show up at a campaign rally for Vladimir Putin, the current prime minister, who wants to have a second stint as president. Yevgeny says the woman was offering a thousand roubles, or about 25 euros, for people to go to the rally. The authorities say Yevgeny is lying, and no one's paying anyone to support Putin. But there are other stories that cause concern about the upcoming election.

This woman was the head of a polling station in southwestern Russia during the legislative elections that were held back in December. She says she's now refusing to take the same post in the presidential election, because, she says, election officials are under pressure to make sure Putin wins in the first round. There's even a target figure, she says - Putin's suppposed to get 70% of the vote. Now the authorities deny all of this too, but activisits say they'll be watching the March 4 poll like a hawk, with cameras at the ready to document any sign of election fraud.

Now to Japan - and a dramatic video. It happened at a zoo in Tokyo. An escaped rhino... he's not the only one. A polar bear... an orangutan... avery angry orang-utan... All right, they're not real. It's a training exercise for the zoo staff, so they'll know how to keep the public safe if an animal should get out of its enclosure. 

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