Gregory Warner

Gregory Warner is NPR's East Africa Correspondent. His reports cover the diverse issues and voices of a region that is experiencing unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. His coverage can be heard across NPR and NPR.org.

Before joining NPR, Warner was a senior reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, where he endeavored to make the economics of American health care vivid and engaging. He's used puppets to illustrate the effects of Internet diagnoses on the doctor-patient relationship. He composed a Suessian cartoon to explain why health care job growth policies can increase the national debt. His musical journey into the shadow world of medical coding won the 2012 Best News Feature award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Prior to Marketplace, Warner was a freelance radio producer reporting from conflict zones around the world. He climbed mountains with smugglers in Pakistan for This American Life, descended into illegal mineshafts in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Marketplace's "Working" series, and lugged his accordion across Afghanistan on the trail of the "Afghan Elvis" for NPR's Radiolab.

Warner's radio and multimedia work has won awards from Edward R Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, PRNDI, and a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has twice won Best News Feature from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009 and 2012.

Warner earned his degree in English at Yale University. He is conversant in Arabic.

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Can Africans Do A Better Job Of Peacekeeping In South Sudan?

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon holds a child at a refugee camp in Juba, South Sudan, on Tuesday. There have been increased calls for a contingent of African troops to be involved in peacekeeping operations.
AP

Originally published on Tue May 6, 2014 5:25 pm

The commander of the rebel movement in South Sudan has agreed to talk peace — if he can make it out of his secret war bunker.

Riek Machar told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by phone on Tuesday that he would "try his best" to make it to Friday's scheduled sit-down in Ethiopia, but that he was "now in a very remote area."

There might be some truth to it: South Sudan is one of the least developed countries in the world, with almost no paved roads outside of the capital. The current rainy season can make travel virtually impossible.

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Africa
3:24 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

With UN Chief In South Sudan, Warring Sides Agree To Talk

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 9:06 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The president of South Sudan and the commander of the rebels there have agreed to sit down and talk. That's one thing that's come out of a visit to the country by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

As NPR's Gregory Warner reports, the U.N. chief also addressed calls to bring African troops into the troubled peacekeeping process.

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Parallels
1:40 am
Mon May 5, 2014

South Sudan's Unrest Turns Politicians To Rebels, Tents To Homes

In the Tomping United Nations base in Juba, South Sudan, roughly 20,000 people live under tents and plastic tarps.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 7:37 am

It seems hard to believe now, but the tit-for-tat ethnic killing that threatens to tear apart the country of South Sudan began with little more than a political tug of war. I was almost pulled into it myself on a trip there in December. One early evening, I was in the middle of interviewing the former Minister of Education Peter Adwok when police came to arrest him.

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Africa
2:21 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

In South Sudan, Peace Sought In Bringing Two Leaders Together

Originally published on Sat May 3, 2014 9:17 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Thousands have been killed in South Sudan since a political dispute devolved into targeted ethnic massacres. Secretary of State John Kerry visited South Sudan today. His trip is aimed at bringing the warring parties face to face to end the conflict. As NPR's Gregory Warner reports, the U.S. has special interest in the country because the United States is behind its political existence.

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Africa
2:13 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Kerry Announces Progress Toward Peacekeeping Force In South Sudan

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 6:32 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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Parallels
1:24 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Reports Of Mass Slaughter As South Sudan Teeters On The Brink

South Sudanese civilians flee from attacks in the northern town of Bentiu on Sunday. Hundreds of civilians were reportedly killed by a rebel group that took the town.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 3:11 pm

South Sudan has been in a downward spiral for months, and now the United Nations says hundreds of civilians were rounded up and killed by a rebel group when it recently took control in the town of Bentiu, an oil hub.

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Africa
3:42 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Somalis In Kenya Are Used To Raids, But They Say This Was Different

Kenyan security officers rounded up people Friday as part of a crackdown that has swept up thousands of undocumented refugees, immigrants and Kenyan citizens of Somali descent in recent weeks.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 6:12 pm

Mohammed Ali Isaac's hands shook as he showed his Kenyan ID to the police officers. They let him pass, but his cousins weren't so lucky. The two women had forgotten their IDs at home, and the police were threatening to load them into one of three large trucks they'd brought for the purpose.

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Parallels
2:02 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

How Rwanda's Only Ice Cream Shop Challenges Cultural Taboos

Alphansine Uwimana writes an order at Inzozi Nziza, or Sweet Dreams, Rwanda's first and only ice cream shop. There are logistical challenges, like power cuts, as well as cultural ones in a country where ice cream is not traditionally popular and women don't often run businesses.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 6:44 am

Rwanda has a warm climate, and the people love milk. You'd think ice cream would be an easy sell.

But mention ice cream to Chantal Kabatesi, and she rubs her jaw like she's at the dentist with a toothache. When she first tasted ice cream at the age of 35 "it was like eating hailstones," the kind that fall on her childhood village once or twice a year.

"I thought, 'Oh no, what are we serving to our customers? Is it dangerous?' " she said.

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Africa
3:40 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Theater Group Gets Generations Talking About Rwandan Genocide

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 8:07 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Twenty years ago, a genocide was carried out in Rwanda. Almost a million people were murdered, mostly members of the minority Tutsi population. We've been looking, this week, at how that country has changed since then. Today, more than half of Rwanda's population is under the age of 20. They have no memory of that searing event. So this period of remembrance is offering a chance for a generation that endured the trauma to speak to a generation that has only heard about.

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Parallels
2:28 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Remembering Rwandans Who Followed Their Conscience

Godleaves Mukamunana, left, hid Domitil Mukakumuranga, in her house for weeks so that Hutu militias wouldn't kill her. "Seeing her alive is the best thing," Mukamunana says. "That kind of relationship we have is priceless. The fact that I don't have more like her --€” those who were killed — that's what's hurting."
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Mon May 5, 2014 3:10 pm

Olive Mukankusi lives in a two-room house with mud walls and a dirt floor in a village called Igati, in eastern Rwanda's Rwamagana province. To get there, you have to drive about 30 minutes down a dirt road.

It's there, in her home, on a warm and sunny afternoon, that she tells a story that she's only told three times in 20 years: first to a local judge, then to an American genocide researcher — and now.

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Africa
3:46 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Rwanda Honors Dead, Celebrates Progress, 20 Years After Genocide

Rwandan women hold candles during a night vigil and prayer for genocide victims at Amahoro stadium.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 6:46 am

After a minute of silence at noon, Monday's remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide began with testimony from a survivor.

The screaming started soon after.

In the crowd of 30,000 gathered in Amahoro stadium in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, first this person then that began to wail and thrash. Men in yellow vests took them to a special room of mattresses in the stadium basement.

In general, Rwandan culture discourages such outward displays of grief. But not during this time of year, when traumatic flashbacks are common.

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Africa
3:15 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Ceremonies Commemorate 20 Years Since Rwanda Genocide

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 6:17 am

The ethnic slaughter killed nearly a million people. The massacre was born of years of tension between the majority Hutu and minority Tutsi.

Africa
9:22 am
Sun April 6, 2014

20 Years Later, Rwanda Hopes To Be A 'Light For The World'

Originally published on Sun April 6, 2014 11:49 am

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is working to transform the legacy of hatred, 20 years after the genocide. The new generation is being taught to find a common purpose in reconstructing Rwanda.

Parallels
1:46 am
Tue April 1, 2014

What 'The Simpsons' Says About Ukraine's Language Divide

The Simpsons, which has been on-air longer than Ukraine has been an independent country, is popular there. Some Russian-speakers even say they find the show funnier when it is dubbed in Ukrainian rather than their native Russian.
Fox via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:06 am

Misha Kostin, a 21-year-old construction engineer in eastern Ukraine, loves The Simpsons. He's loved it for 10 years. He says the animated series "illustrates everyday life problems in humorous ways, and offers a useful moral at the end of each episode."

And though Kostin and most of the people in eastern Ukraine are native Russian speakers, he prefers to download episodes dubbed not in Russian but in his second language, Ukrainian. All his friends in the city of Donetsk prefer the version dubbed in Ukrainian.

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World
3:10 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

In Ukraine's Industrial Heart, An Economic Affinity With Russia

Originally published on Fri March 28, 2014 4:34 pm

In Eastern Ukraine, the country's industrial heartland, many workers fear for their jobs if Ukraine joins the European Union.

Parallels
2:16 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

In A Divided Donetsk, Russians And Ukrainians Vie For Support

Activists rally for a united Ukraine in Donetsk on March 5. They were attacked by pro-Russia supporters, but Russian media reported that pro-Russian demonstrators were attacked by soccer hooligans.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:51 pm

Two rallies took place recently on Lenin Square in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine.

At the first, a pro-Ukranian rally on March 5, thousands marched with Ukranian flags, shouting, "Down With Putin! Donetsk is Ukraine!" They were attacked by pro-Russia supporters.

A football fan club called the Ultras defended the demonstrators, but the next day, Russian media reported that a pro-Russian demonstration was attacked by soccer hooligans.

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News
2:24 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Without Orders, Ukrainian Troops Are Anchorless In Crimea

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:22 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: Music and fireworks in Moscow today, as Russia formalized its annexation of Crimea. There was a more muted celebration in Brussels, where Ukraine signed a political association agreement with the European Union. Coming up, we'll talk about what Russia's new stance means for the U.S.

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Europe
2:28 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Crimean Tatars Fear History May Repeat Itself

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Crimea itself, the Russian takeover is working its way into many aspects of life. The new pro-Russian authorities have canceled the Ukrainian Civil Code, including all property documents. And there are rumors that anyone who refuses to accept a new Russian passport might have their property confiscated. That echoes the deepest fears of Crimea's Muslim minority, the Tatars.

NPR's Gregory Warner reports they have experienced that trauma before.

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News
2:27 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Russian Flags Fly Over Ukrainian Base — But Who Stormed It?

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 5:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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News
2:03 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Deadly Violence Breaks Out At Crimean Military Base

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 2:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

I'm Robert Siegel.

On Sunday, Crimea was part of Ukraine. Yesterday, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Crimea was an independent country. And today Putin and Crimean officials signed a treaty to make the peninsula part of Russia. We're going to hear a Russian view of these events coming up.

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World
3:24 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Putin Moves Foward With Plans To Annex Crimea

Host David Greene speaks with NPR's Gregory Warner about Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval of a draft treaty to annex Crimea.

News
2:09 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Celebrations In Crimea — And Worries Among Troops Left Behind

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:33 pm

Now that Crimea has voted to separate from Ukraine and join Russia, Ukrainian troops still stationed on the peninsula have become even less secure.

Parallels
1:08 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

In Crimea, Those Who Refuse To Vote Are Making Dumplings

Ilona Simonenko, 36, posted this picture of cherry and potato dumplings to her Facebook page. Some Crimeans are expressing their dissent against Sunday's vote by making the Ukrainian treat.
Ilona Simonenko Facebook

Varenyky are Ukrainian dumplings stuffed with fruit or potatoes and topped with sour cream. Today, they became a symbol of political protest.

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Europe
3:12 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Crimeans Ready For Vote On Joining Russia

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:27 am

Residents of the Crimea region vote Sunday on whether to join Russia. The region is controlled by pro-Russian forces, and the Ukrainian government in Kiev has declared the referendum illegal.

Africa
3:24 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Jewels Lie Beneath The Violence In The Central African Republic

A villager holds diamonds dug out from a mine outside the village of Sam Ouandja in northeast Central African Republic in 2007.
David Lewis Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:08 pm

Morning Mass began with a hymn on a recent Sunday at the Infant Jesus Catholic Church in the Central African Republic town of Bouar. The Rev. Dominic Mbarta fretted about his sermon. The previous Sunday, when a Polish priest at the church simply asked the congregation to refrain from killing their Muslim neighbors or looting abandoned Muslim houses, the priest was threatened.

"They were so angry," Mbarta says. "They went back grumbling that the priest is not impartial. He is for the Muslims. He's not for the Christians."

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Africa
4:04 am
Mon February 17, 2014

South African Miners Blocked From Leaving Illegal Mine

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 5:57 am

Rescue efforts have been underway at an illegal gold mine near Johannesburg, where a group of miners were trapped by boulders they say were placed there by a gang of rivals. Some of the men refused rescue because those let out were being arrested by local police for their unauthorized excavations. Renee Montagne talks to David Smith, a reporter for Britain's Guardian newspaper in Johannesburg.

Africa
3:17 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Troops Escort Muslims Out Of Central African Republic

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 9:24 am

Tens of thousands of Muslims are fleeing what the U.N. calls a campaign of "ethno-religious cleansing" in the Central African Republic. On Sunday, African forces provided a military escort to hundreds of people on a slow convoy toward the Western border with Cameroon.

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Parallels
4:12 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Will Helping Muslims Flee Central African Republic Aid 'Cleansing'?

Muslim women line up at a Red Cross distribution outside the mosque in Bouar. United Nations peacekeepers guard the mosque, where thousands of Muslim residents gather each evening for safety.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:58 pm

It is almost impossible to buy soap anymore in most small towns in the Central African Republic. Same with sugar, powdered milk, batteries, baby formula. Up until January, these kinds of imported goods — in the stratified society of this country — almost always would have been sold to you by a Muslim.

But for the past few weeks, bands of Christian militia groups called anti-Balaka have waged war on Muslims and their property.

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Africa
3:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

In Eastern Congo, Complex Conflicts And High-Stakes Diplomacy

Congolese M23 rebel fighters detain a man they suspect to be an FDLR rebel returning from an incursion into Rwanda, north of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on Nov. 27, 2012. The 20-year conflict in Eastern Congo can feel like an alphabet soup of armed groups. An international team of diplomats is trying to stop the violence, one militia at a time.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 5:55 pm

In June last year, soon after Secretary of State John Kerry named his old Senate colleague Russ Feingold as the first American special envoy to the Great Lakes, one of Feingold's former constituents approached him with a welcome smile, and a puzzled look. Feingold had, after all, spent 19 years as a senator in the American Great Lakes.

"The is terrific," the man said to Feingold, the former senator recently recalled. "What are you going to be doing, checking water levels?"

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Africa
3:40 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

In Kenya, A Fraught Return To The Site Of A Massacre

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 5:55 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

In Nairobi, four men are on trial for helping the terrorists who stormed Westgate Mall in September. More than 70 people were killed in that attack. Today, the judge and lawyers on both sides left the confines of their courtroom and took a field trip to the mall.

As NPR's Gregory Warner reports, they went looking for the truth of what happened that day. But they also went looking for closure.

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