Rukmini Callimachi, the West Africa bureau chief for The Associated Press, is joining the New York Times, according to a staff memo obtained by The Huffington Post.
Callimachi's dispatches from West Africa have stood out from the pack. In December, she wrote a moving first-person account of finding dead bodies in Mali and confronting the country's military. A few weeks later, Callimachi reported on Al Qaeda's detailed expense account system, based on documents obtained by the AP.
Memo from John Daniszewski, the AP's senior managing editor for international news, is below:
I wanted to share the news that West Africa chief of bureau Rukmini Callimachi has decided to leave the AP to take a job at the New York Times. Her last day will be March 11.
Rukmini, based in Dakar, Senegal, built a record of accomplishment at the AP since arriving there first as a reporter in 2007 and continuing as bureau chief since 2011. Her reporting over the past seven years has been ambitious, distinctive and compelling, whether telling the story of a nomad forced to sell his last camel, or exposing reprisal killings of ethnic Arabs in Timbuktu. One of her most memorable series was on child trafficking and the abuse of child laborers who pan for gold in wretched conditions. She started her AP career in Portland, Oregon, in December 2003, and among her U.S. assignments before going overseas was her poignant reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Rukmini says she will be returning to the United States for the Times with the eventual plan to send her abroad again. We wish her the best.
We will of course maintain AP's strong reporting commitment to West Africa and keep our journalism there vibrant and the envy of others. Our coverage will be unflinching, and I look forward to input from all of you as that effort, including hiring, unfolds.