Bono in Timbukto

U2 front man, Bono, takes to the stage in Timbuktu as Mali raises security for it’s desert music festival.

Many reports are comiong that Bono appeared in the music festival.The festival used to be a major world music event but al Qaeda threats have kept crowds away.

Roughly 300 paying tourists attended, about half the number in 2011 and well down on the thousand-plus of past years. Around three thousand non-paying Malians also turned up for the three-day event, including nomadic Tuaregs.

Bono, put in an appearance on the opening night on Thursday in what organisers said was a show of support for the event.

Mali and the nieghbbouring Niger have ended years of uprising which began in 2009. The area faced a new security threat bandits teamed up with al Qada’s Saharan wing. ( who knew that even was a real group)to suppply a lucrative trade in ransoms of Western hostages.

Aside from the impact on tourism, the kidnappings have made it harder for international aid workers to operate in the semi-arid Sahel region which faces regular food crises and has some of the worst health statistics in the world.