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 president of Nigeria told a security conference in Paris this weekend that he is fighting out Al-Qaida in West Africa. Goodluck Jonathan was referring to Boko Haram, the group that abducted nearly 300 schoolgirls in Northern Nigeria a bit over a month ago.

A pair of bombs killed at least 10 people in Kenya's capital on Friday. What do these and a slew of other attacks in Kenya say about the security situation in the country and the region?

The girls at St. Mary's slept uneasily that night. Rebels were rumored to be nearby and planning an attack. Calls for protection by school administrators to a nearby army outpost went unanswered.

By nightfall, all the girls "prayed to God and asked Him to take control of our lives," a 16-year-old would later tell a reporter. During the night, the girls heard boots. Then gunfire. Rough men's voices threatened to toss grenades through the dormitory windows if they didn't unlock the doors.

Last year I took a drive through the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in a bulletproof SUV. My seatmate was Justin Brady, who at the time was working for the U.N. We were both wearing body armor — standard issue for these trips — and we were followed by a second car with more guys with guns.

Coordinating humanitarian aid can be an incredibly risky job in Somalia, where Islamist militants al-Shabab have declared open season on any Westerner or anyone accused of working with the so-called Western occupier.

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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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.

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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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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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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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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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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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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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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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.

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

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

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

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.

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."

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.

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