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For immediate release
November 3, 2005
Chad Campbell, NPR: | 202.513.2304

NPR News to Explore Terrorism in the Horn of Africa In Five-Part Series on All Things Considered, November 7 - 11

NPR's Eric Westervelt Visits Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, Djibouti and the Somalia Border for His Series on the Quiet Front in the War on Terrorism

Washington, D.C. - NPR News takes an in-depth look at the quiet war being waged against terrorism and Islamic extremism in the volatile Horn region linking Africa to the Middle East in a new five-part series airing daily the week of November 7 - 11 on NPR newsmagazine All Things Considered. In a month-long trip to Africa, NPR Correspondent Eric Westervelt and Producer Tom Bullock visited several important regions in the war on terror: Kenya, Ethiopia, Yemen, Djibouti and the Somalia border.

While the media primarily focuses on the Middle East for its coverage of terrorist activity, Africa plays an increasingly important role. The series examines the political, economic, religious and military forces shaping the fight against terrorism. From refugees fleeing the failed state of Somalia to impoverished villages in rural Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, the series examines a region flooded with weapons and suffering from porous borders, corrupt regimes and endemic poverty.

The segments include:

November 7: Somalia -- The fourteenth attempt to create a viable government in the failed state of Somalia is in shambles. The transitional Somali "government" - comprised of warlords - is itself on the verge of violent conflict and America still appears to have no coherent policy toward a country many on the ground believe has become a transit route for terrorist-linked weapons, funding and potential foot soldiers.

November 8: Somalia II -- One hundred and forty thousand refugees from the Somali civil war remain holed up in a series of camps just across the Somali-Kenya border. The refugees live a stagnant life in terrible conditions. Most have lost hope that peace or stability will ever return to their homeland.

November 9: Kenya -- The site of some of al Qaeda's first and deadliest attacks: the bombing of the US Embassy in Nairobi in '98 and the car bombing of the Paradise Hotel in Mombasa in '02. Today, tourist-dependent Kenya insists there is no lingering terrorist threat. The facts suggest otherwise with Kenyan courts having failed to successfully prosecute a single terrorist suspect.

November 10: Yemen -- After the deadly terrorist attacks on the USS Cole and French tanker Limburg, many feared this mountainous, fiercely tribal and well-armed country would become al Qaeda's next base of operations. It has not. That's due in part to a controversial and unorthodox method of "de-programming" Islamic extremists using judges and imams armed with the Koran and the sayings of the Prophet Mohammed.

November 11: Ethiopia -- The proverbial "hearts and minds" campaign is being waged from a US military base in the tiny port nation of Djibouti. American soldiers are digging wells and building schools throughout the horn region, including Ethiopia's dry and desolate Ogaden. It's what some think the real "war on terrorism" should look like: providing economic, technical and logistical support rather than kicking down doors in search of terrorist suspects.

Check for stations and times of All Things Considered. Streaming audio of each segment will be available on at approximately 7 p.m. (ET) on the day it airs.

Since its launch in 1970, NPR--a privately-supported, non-profit membership organization--has evolved into a leading media company, primary news provider and dominant force in American life. In partnership with 815 public radio stations, it attracts nearly 26 million listeners to the 130 hours of broadcast programming it produces and distributes weekly. According to published reports, the flagship news magazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, are No. 2 and No. 4 overall among all national radio programming; Morning Edition is also the most-listened-to national morning drive program.

NPR maintains news bureaus and correspondents in more than 35 cities worldwide and, in 2002, opened NPR West, a news and programming production facility in Los Angeles. Its site features extensive original online content, hourly newscasts, audio streaming and comprehensive NPR archives. Reaching into all new media platforms, NPR programs two channels on Sirius Satellite Radio; is a pioneer in podcasting, ranking consistently on iTunes' and Yahoo's "Most-Downloaded" listings; and is launching five music streams for HD Radio multicast channels. NPR programming is available in more than 140 countries through NPR Worldwide and Armed Forces Network.