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Niger hosts major Sahara camel race in the desert

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Copyright © africanews
MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

Niger

Niger hosted last Saturday its major Sahara camel race.

Twenty five camels took part in two laps of five kilometres at the Ingall camel race, in the north of Niger.

This was is a flagship event of the "Salt Cure" festival, a great celebration of Saharan pastoralism trapped in the jihadist conflict in the region

The race is considered one of the backbone cultures of most of these camel breeders not only in Niger but in the entire Sahara desert.

This rich culture has been passed down from generation to generation as they consider it honorable given the fact that competitors are after glory but not the reward.

"Camel racing is something we inherited from our parents. We don't do it for interest or money, if we can get the money it's okay. It's more something we grew up with, it's for fun. In Europe, there is football, here it is the camel race. It happens (ed, here) once a year, (ed, elsewhere) once in a while," Khamid Ekwel, camel owner said.

Hundreds of camel owners showed up Saturday morning to compete through the five-kilometers track in the desert.

While most of these animals were drawn from all over the country and even from nearby Algeria, special and skillful riders were going to be successful in this competition.

A ten-year-old boy by the name Tchin Tabaraden won the much-coveted race after defeating 24 riders in the 5 kilometres race.

Moussa, winner of the camel race in the 'salt cure' festival (male, 10 years old, Tamashek, 13 sec):

The competition is set for next year in the search of another champion in Niger.