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AP names Michelle Faul as chief of bureau for Nigeria

The Associated Press has named Michelle Faul, who has covered the major stories of Africa over the past three decades, as its bureau chief in Nigeria.

The appointment was announced Wednesday by Africa Editor Andrew Selsky.

"Michelle Faul is a wonderful writer and a meticulous reporter with deep experience who has a knack for building sources," Selsky said. "These skills, along with her ability to grasp the nuances of events, will benefit AP's worldwide audience as she explains what is happening in Africa's most populous nation, one that today is being ravaged by an Islamic insurgency."

Faul has been AP's chief Africa correspondent based in Johannesburg since 2005, traveling widely in sub-Saharan Africa.

She won an Associated Press Managing Editors' award for Enterprise Reporting for her coverage of unrest in eastern Congo in 2009 and for coverage of violence in Ivory Coast in 2011.

From South Africa, she covered the 2009 elections that brought Jacob Zuma to the presidency, the police killings of striking miners in 2012, an event that had echoes of apartheid, and Nelson Mandela's declining health.

Faul first traveled to Nigeria for the AP in 1990 to write about how the oil industry was polluting the land and impoverishing residents of the Niger Delta.

In her new role, Faul will be based in Lagos. She will be responsible for directing AP coverage of Africa's biggest oil producer and economic powerhouse as it prepares for elections early next year.

She will continue to report to Selsky.

Faul joined the AP in her native Zimbabwe in 1983. She was forced to leave under threat of arrest two years later for her coverage of mass killings by the government. She reported on East Africa from Nairobi, Kenya, for two years before moving to the AP's International Desk in New York City in 1988. The following year she transferred to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, to cover West Africa.

She was named Caribbean news editor, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1995, and was promoted to chief of bureau there in 2000.

Faul covered the great famine in Ethiopia, civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone and the transformation of many West African countries from military dictatorships amid widespread pro-democracy demonstrations.

In the Caribbean, she reported on the arrival of the first detainees at the U.S. lockup at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, U.S. efforts to fight drug smuggling, the devastating volcanic eruption in Montserrat, and on Jean-Bertrand Aristide's fall from power in Haiti. She returned to Haiti in 2010 as part of the AP team that covered the deadly earthquake there.

Faul, 57, previously worked for the British Broadcasting Corp., Agence France-Presse and The Sunday Mail and Herald newspapers of Zimbabwe.