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The Observers

Malian citizens go to bootcamp to recapture north, uniformed men torch Sudanese village, 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.

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STORY 1: Mali

Since March, northern Mali has come under the control of armed separatists and radical Islamists. Residents of the country’s capital are hoping the military will soon intervene. But since Mali’s army remains weak and disorganised, some have decided to take matters into their own hands. Civilians have started their own training camp. The goal: to go win back the country’s north. Our Observer Boubacar Al-kourai-chi visited a football field in Bamako where these training sessions take place.

 

STORY 2: Sudan

South Kordofan, an oil-rich region of Sudan, has been the scene of bloody battles for over a year now. The Sudanese army is fighting against rebels from a group called the “SPLM-North”. According to our Observer, the images you are about to see were found by a rebel on a mobile phone belonging to a deceased Sudanese army soldier. They were then given to our Observer, Ryan Boyette, the founder of Nuba Reports, a citizen journalism project based in Sudan’s remote Nuba mountains. After investigating this footage, Ryan has concluded that it proves the Sudanese army is deliberately attacking the civilian population in an attempt to weaken the rebels.

Our Observer’s investigation leads him to believe that these images were filmed in the fall of 2011, but he’s waiting on satellite photos from that time period to help confirm this. Meanwhile, Sudan's ambassador to Kenya has claimed these images are fake and meant to discredit the government. 
 

STORY 3: World

Now for the best images sent in this week by our observers from around the world.

We first head to the city of Mashhad, in north-east Iran. A passenger filmed these images with a mobile phone on a bus. They show an Islamic cleric trying to caress a female passenger through his robe. According to one of our Iranian Observers, Shila, this video angered many women in Iran. Many of them, she says, have had to endure unwanted advances from clerics. While clerics are allowed to have sexual relations within the bounds of marriage, some Iranians accuse them of abusing their positions of power to harass women.

Of course, sexual harassment isn’t limited to Iran…. These images were filmed in early July in India, in Guwahati, the capital of Assam state. This 17-year-old woman was savagely attacked by a group of drunken men. The young woman is brutally pushed around before being thrown to the ground, where the men tear her clothes off. This video shocked many Indians - not just because of the violence of the attack, but because the journalist who happened upon the scene decided to film it rather than to intervene.

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