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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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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Parallels
3:25 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 Wed April 9, 2014 3:24 am

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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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.

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
2:23 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
2:34 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
2:05 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.

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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Parallels
4:10 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
2:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 12:28 pm

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Sat December 28, 2013

Rebel Leader Skeptical Of South Sudan Cease-Fire Offer

Tens of thousands of refugees are flocking to United Nations compounds like this one in Juba, while fears fester that fighting in the capital will resume.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

A senior official in South Sudan said Saturday that government troops will attack the main rebel stronghold if rebels turn down a proposed cease-fire.

The government had offered the truce on Friday to end two weeks of ethnic violence that has killed more than a thousand people.

Those rebel forces are loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, accused by supporters of President Salva Kiir of leading a coup attempt two weekends ago that sparked violence across the country.

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Parallels
4:51 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

U.N. Refuge Prepares For Possible Attack In South Sudan

South Sudanese seek refuge at the United Nations compound in the capital, Juba, on Sunday. Though Juba is mostly peaceful now, growing numbers are seeking shelter at the compound in fear the ethnic killings will resume.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 5:15 pm

The president of South Sudan spent Friday in a peace summit with regional heads of state, discussing the crisis that erupted last weekend after an alleged coup attempt. At the same time, the government warned of a shadowy rebel army, covered with white ash, marching through the jungle to re-attack the northern city of Bor.

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Parallels
2:01 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Uganda Passes Anti-Gay Bill That Includes Life In Prison

David Bahati, a member of Uganda's Parliament, is interviewed in 2011. Bahati was the driving force behind a controversial anti-gay bill that was approved Friday.
Ronald Kabuubi AP

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 4:46 pm

Uganda's Parliament ignored Western criticism and passed a bill on Friday that punishes acts of homosexuality with prison terms that can include life in prison.

The bill has been a source of controversy for years. Western governments and leaders, including President Obama, have criticized the measure, which President Yoweri Museveni must sign for it to take effect.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, it's actual name, also makes it a crime to "promote" homosexuality, which could mean simply offering HIV counseling.

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Shots - Health News
3:46 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

HIV Treatment Keeps A Family Together And Growing In Kenya

When Benta Odeny was diagnosed with HIV, she started to protect her husband Daniel from the virus by taking antiretroviral medications. The same drugs also helped her give birth to an HIV-negative daughter, Angelia.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 3:17 pm

Daniel and Benta Odeny married late by African standards: Both were in their 30s. And they'd only just hit their third anniversary when Benta started coughing blood.

The cough lasted a couple of weeks. So Benta went to the doctor. She had HIV. But Daniel was still HIV negative.

"She thought it was the end of the world," Daniel says.

Benta thought that Daniel would leave her and she would die alone. She had seen it happen many times to other women in her situation.

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Africa
5:58 am
Sun December 8, 2013

South Africans Celebrate Mandela On National Day Of Prayer

A sea of tributes grows outside the home of former President Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 1:53 pm

The day of prayer and reflection for Nelson Mandela began Sunday morning at the African Gospel Church in Orlando, an area of Soweto, Mandela's hometown.

The anti-apartheid icon died Thursday night of complications from a lung infection. He was 95 years old.

Fleur Nomthandazo has been coming to this church, her great-grandfather's church, every Sunday for the past six months to pray for Nelson Mandela's recovery. Today, she's here to pray for his family.

"We never cry when somebody dies," Nomthandazo says. "We celebrate the life that they lived."

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Planet Money
1:59 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

The Afterlife Of American Clothes

Bales of imported clothing are wheeled into the Gikombo Market in Nairobi, Kenya.
Sarah Elliott for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 8:45 am

This story is part of the Planet Money T-shirt project.

Jeff Steinberg had a maroon and white lacrosse jersey that he wore for years. It said "Denver Lacrosse" on the front and had his number, 5, on the back.

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Parallels
7:48 am
Wed November 27, 2013

In Kenya, Corruption Is Widely Seen, Rarely Punished

Video footage shows what appears to be Kenyan soldiers carrying plastic shopping bags as they leave a supermarket at Westgate Mall during a terrorist attack in Nairobi on Sept. 21. Kenya's security forces have long been rated as among the most corrupt institutions in the country, but even jaded Kenyans were shocked by the CCTV footage.
Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed November 27, 2013 11:20 am

Editor's Note: One out of three Africans paid a bribe in the past year to obtain a government document, get medical care, place kids in school or settle an issue with police, according to a recent survey. Police consistently attracted the highest ratings of corruption, including those in Kenya. NPR's Gregory Warner looks at the impact it has on the country.

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Parallels
1:04 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

How One Kenyan Tribe Produces The World's Best Runners

Runners train in Ngong, Kenya, in 2012. The country has produced the world's best distance runners for decades, and most belong to the Kalenjin people.
Michael Steele Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 6:35 pm

Kenyan Wilson Kipsang won this year's Berlin Marathon in 2 hours, 3 minutes and 23 seconds — an average of 4:42 per mile. It was easily the fastest marathon time ever recorded, an incredible feat for another powerful Kenyan runner.

But perhaps equally remarkable was that his fellow Kenyans also came in second, third, fourth and fifth place in this major international race. On the women's side, Kenyans placed first, second and fourth.

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Africa
3:08 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Protesters Call For Justice In Brutal Gang Rape In Kenya

Hundreds take to the streets in Nairobi on Thursday, calling for justice for a 16-year-old girl dubbed "Liz," who was gang raped in rural Kenya. The men were caught by the police and let go after their punishment — cutting the grass at the police station.
Daniel Irungu EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 8:50 am

The gang rape of a 16-year-old Kenyan schoolgirl — and the lack of punishment given to the alleged rapists — has sparked outrage in the country and beyond.

The attack was so violent it left the girl in a wheelchair with a severe back injury. She identified some of her attackers, who police apprehended — only to let go after they were ordered to cut the lawn at the police station.

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Africa
1:20 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Kenyan President Faced Justice With Help Of Secret Envelope

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 8:32 am

Kenya's deputy president William Ruto is back before the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday. He and his boss, President Uhuru Kenyatta, face charges of instigating and financing deadly tribal violence in Kenya after that country's disputed 2007 election.

But their cases might never have reached this stage if not for one Kenyan judge and a remarkable disappearing act.

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The Two-Way
8:28 pm
Sun October 6, 2013

Target Of U.S. Raid In Somalia Called A Top Attack Planner

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 10:53 am

A Kenyan intelligence official says that the "high-value terrorist leader" whose residence was targeted in a Navy SEAL raid Saturday was the senior al-Shabab leader Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, who used the alias Ikrima.

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Africa
1:27 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Did Kenyan Soldiers Loot Mall During Fight With Terrorists?

Bullet holes in the glass door of a shop in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
Rukmini Callimachi AP

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 9:00 am

More than a week after Islamic militants stormed an upscale mall in Nairobi, Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta has vowed to set up a commission to look into lapses in intelligence and security. At least 67 people died in the four-day siege, which ended with dozens still unaccounted for.

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Africa
12:45 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

What A Chatty Monkey May Tell Us About Learning To Talk

The gelada monkey, found only in the highlands of Ethiopia, is known as the bleeding heart baboon for the splash of red on its chest. Males of the species have a remarkable vocal agility greater than that of any nonhuman primate.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 12:04 am

The gelada monkey, also known as the bleeding heart baboon, makes a gurgling noise or wobble sound that scientists say is close to human speech — at least in how much facial coordination it requires.

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

'Braai Day' Aims To Bring S. Africans Together Over Barbecue

Jan Scannell, former accountant, has taken on a new identity as "Jan Braai," a South African TV show host and media personality promoting the idea of National Braai (barbecuing) Day, celebrated each year on Sept. 24.
Courtesy of Stephanus Rabie

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

Nelson Mandela is officially "improving," though still in critical condition at a South African hospital. His long battle with a lung infection has South Africans anxiously contemplating their "post-Mandela" future in a still racially divided country. In a unique strategy, one man is hoping to help heal those divisions with a pair of barbecue tongs.

Jan Scannell is a 32-year-old former accountant with a dream: To establish a national holiday in South Africa like July 4 called Braai Day.

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Africa
2:21 am
Wed August 7, 2013

For Ethiopian Women, Construction Jobs Offer A Better Life

Mekedes Getachew, 19, has been working at construction sites in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, since she was 15 years old. Except for the heaviest lifting, she says, the laborers "all do the same work and we don't really say this is a man's job, but when it comes to salary there's a difference." She earns $1.50 a day. Men earn $2.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:32 pm

Earlier this summer in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, I heard a complaint from many professionals that they could no longer find cheap house cleaners and nannies.

The apparently endless supply of girls and young women from the countryside who would work for peanuts just for a chance to move to the capital was drying up. It turns out more and more of them are finding work on one of the city's many construction sites.

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