The Tuareg are nomadic pastoralist people who initially inhabited the Saharan dessert in north of Africa. Presently they are mostly found in West and Northern African countries.
Their settlement spreads in the countries; Mali, Niger, Algeria, Libya and Burkina Faso. They no longer practice long distance nomadisim as they did before mainly because of the independence of the country. The Toureg group currently faces many problems due to different changes in environment, political and cultural issues that have forced them to change their way of living (Rodd, 1966).
Problems and Threats facing the Tuaregs
The Tuareg face threat of their culture being completely extinct. Tuareg are losing their culture as they interact and get assimilated into other cultures. The Tuareg way of life has been disrupted by political changes where their territories have been split and brought under different governance by different independent countries in North Africa. The Tuareg for example can no longer freely practice nomadism or the long Trans – Saharan trade they used to practice before.
They have to adhere to the rules and regulations set up by the different countries that occupy the territories that were once theirs (Ghoubeid, Prasse & Mohamed, 2003).
Tuaregs can no longer use their way of governance that was characterised by an assembly of chiefs who made rules, solved problems and generally governed the community. They have to adhere to the modern forms of governance used by the country in which they live. The fact that they can no longer do things the way they used to threatens the survival of their culture.
Competition for resources with other West and North African groups resulting into conflicts is a major problem facing the Tuareg. These conflicts are intense in the Sahel region which is a less arid savannah belt that has greener pastures and more water as compared to the other parts of the Sahara Dessert.
The fact that they can no longer practice pastoralism and nomadism as it has been restricted by the independent countries has made their life so difficult that they have to look for alternative sources of income (Mortimore, 1972).
Desertification is a threat to the Tuaregs. This activity which is enhanced by human activities such as logging of trees to meet the firewood and charcoal needs of individuals in the society has greatly affected the Tuaregs (Keenan, 1973).
It has made pastures and water more scarce making the lives of these individuals hard. Constant occurrence of draughts and famines which usually leave the livestock of the Tuaregs dead is a threat as they depend most on livestock for their living (Ghoubeid, Prasse & Mohamed, 2003).
The Tuaregs have had to take farming or try look for jobs in cities so as to earn some income that will enhance their survival.
The independence of Mali and Niger has led to several uprisings that put the Touregs against the governmental officials in these countries. The Tuaregs have been fighting for their independence as the Mali and Niger regimes have been very repressive to them.
This resulted to the Touregs moving towards urban centres and to other neighbouring countries where they became refugees. Return to their countries has always been met with hostility and violence which pushed the Turaegs into arming themselves against these oppressive regimes.
The war between this group and the government military has resulted to loss of lives, destruction of property (in this case livestock for the Tuaregs) and left many wounded (Geels, 2006). The Turaegs who went back to their countries have been severally arrested by the police and put under constant surveillance. The two governments basically treat these individuals with a lot of discrimination.
The Tuaregs also face the problem of being ignored by the international community. They never receive international aid and no one seems to be addressing their needs and plight. In 1992, the Tuaregs were declared the most threatened group in the world as thousands had died as a result of desertification and repression yet no international aid had been availed to them. This was reported by the Humanitarian Organization Médecins Sans Frontières.