Tuaregs celebrate culture in Niger Sahara festival

IFEROUANE, Niger (AP) — Tuaregs in northern Niger are hoping to draw tourists back to the region by putting their traditional dances, music poetry and camel races on display.

Despite concerns about Islamic extremism throughout the Sahel region in West Africa, organizers recently hosted more than 1,000 visitors to a cultural festical in Iferouane, a village in Niger's far north.

Mohamed Houma, the mayor of the town located about 250 kilometers (155 miles) north of the central city of Agadez, said tourism boosts the local economy and offers opportunities for young people so they do not join the wave of migration to Europe.

The Air festival, considered one of the most important gatherings to celebrate the culture of the Tuareg people, has been held since 2001.