Colorful Songhai headdresses


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Balkissa Maiga, 17, wears a traditional Songhai headdress made by artisan Hally Bara in Gao, Mali, March 6, 2013. Radical Islamist group MUJAO placed limitations on the wearing of traditional women's headdresses during their nine-month reign in Gao, which ended in January with the arrival of French and Malian troops. The headdresses, made of beads, gemstones, fabric and fake hair and traditionally worn by elites for special occasions, were criticized by MUJAO who said they were not Islamic enough. Issues surrounding the treatment of women are receiving special attention on March 8, which marks International Women’s Day. REUTERS/Joe Penney