Category : Africa

(Guardian) Drought puts 2.1 million Kenyans at risk of starvation

An estimated 2.1 million Kenyans face starvation due to a drought in half the country, which is affecting harvests.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said people living in 23 counties across the arid north, northeastern and coastal parts of the country will be in “urgent need” of food aid over the next six months, after poor rains between March and May this year.

The crisis has been compounded by Covid-19 and previous poor rains, it said, predicting the situation will get worse by the end of the year, as October to December rains are expected to be below normal levels.

The affected regions are usually the most food-insecure in Kenya due to high levels of poverty.

Read it all.

Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Kenya, Poverty

Food for Thought from Saint Cyprian on his Feast Day

Let us therefore, brethren beloved, pray as God our Teacher has taught us. It is a loving and friendly prayer to beseech God with His own word, to come up to His ears in the prayer of Christ. Let the Father acknowledge the words of His Son when we make our prayer, and let Him also who dwells within in our breast Himself dwell in our voice. And since we have Him as an Advocate with the Father for our sins, let us, when as sinners we petition on behalf of our sins, put forward the words of our Advocate. For since He says, that “whatsoever we shall ask of the Father in His name, He will give us,”how much more effectually do we obtain what we ask in Christ’s name, if we ask for it in His own prayer!

But let our speech and petition when we pray be under discipline, observing quietness and modesty. Let us consider that we are standing in God’s sight. We must please the divine eyes both with the habit of body and with the measure of voice. For as it is characteristic of a shameless man to be noisy with his cries, so, on the other hand, it is fitting to the modest man to pray with moderated petitions. Moreover, in His teaching the Lord has bidden us to pray in secret in hidden and remote places, in our very bed-chambers which is best suited to faith, that we may know that God is everywhere present, and hears and sees all, and in the plenitude of His majesty penetrates even into hidden and secret places, as it is written, “I am a God at hand, and not a God afar off. If a man shall hide himself in secret places, shall I not then see him? Do not I fill heaven and earth?” And again: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”And when we meet together with the brethren in one place, and celebrate divine sacrifices with God’s priest, we ought to be mindful of modesty and discipline””not to throw abroad our prayers indiscriminately, with unsubdued voices, nor to cast to God with tumultuous wordiness a petition that ought to be commended to God by modesty; for God is the hearer, not of the voice, but of the heart. Nor need He be clamorously reminded, since He sees men’s thoughts, as the Lord proves to us when He says, “Why think ye evil in your hearts?” And in another place: “And all the churches shall know that I am He that searcheth the hearts and reins.”

And this Hannah in the first book of Kings, who was a type of the Church, maintains and observes, in that she prayed to God not with clamorous petition, but silently and modestly, within the very recesses of her heart. She spoke with hidden prayer, but with manifest faith. She spoke not with her voice, but with her heart, because she knew that thus God hears; and she effectually obtained what she sought, because she asked it with belief. Divine Scripture asserts this, when it says, “She spake in her heart, and her lips moved, and her voice was not heard; and God did hear her.”We read also in the Psalms, “Speak in your hearts, and in your beds, and be ye pierced.”The Holy Spirit, moreover, suggests these same things by Jeremiah, and teaches, saying, “But in the heart ought God to be adored by thee.”

–From his Treatise On the Lord’s Prayer

Posted in Africa, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Cyprian

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Cyprian boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Africa, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(Business Standard) Africa ‘not on track’ to 10% Covid-19 vaccination target by year end: WHO

Only 1.5 per cent of the whole population of Africa has been vaccinated against Covid-19, and the continent might not even reach 10 per cent coverage by December 2021, although the World Health Organization (WHO) wanted to cross that threshold by September of this year, WHO officials warned on Friday.

“Right now, we are not on track to hit 10 per cent coverage in Africa by the end of this year,” said Bruce Aylward, senior advisor to the WHO director general, at a press conference here on Friday.

“That should be a scar on all of our conscience, quite frankly,” he added, pointing out that the number of coronavirus-related deaths has increased by 80 per cent on the African continent, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Only a fraction of the globally available vaccine doses have been administered in Africa, less than two per cent of the 4.07 billion doses used worldwide, according to the WHO.

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Posted in Africa, Health & Medicine

(NBC) Boko Haram Kidnapping Survivors Now Pursuing Graduate Degrees To Help Others

“Joy Bishara and Lydia Pogu were among the hundreds of girls kidnapped in 2014 by Boko Haram in Nigeria. After escaping, both women have now graduated from Florida’s Southeastern University and plan to pursue graduate degrees. They’re determined to be a voice for those still missing.”

Watch it all.

Posted in Education, Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence, Women, Young Adults

(BBC) South Africa looting: Government to deploy 25,000 troops after unrest

The South African government plans to deploy 25,000 troops after days of widespread looting and violence.

The military deployment – to counter riots sparked by the jailing of former President Jacob Zuma – would be the biggest since the end of apartheid.

At least 117 people have died and more than 2,000 have been arrested in South Africa’s worst unrest in years.

Hundreds of shops and businesses have been looted and the government says it is acting to prevent food shortages.

Citizens are arming themselves and forming vigilante groups to protect their property from the rampage.

Read it all.

Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Politics in General, South Africa, Violence

(CT) Whispered Prayers, Hidden Bibles, Secretly Scribbled Verses: Inside the Resilient Faith of the #BringBackOurGirls Hostages

Eventually, word of the girls’ indiscipline reached Malam Ahmed. The girls were singing, he learned, and were hiding a Bible. He was furious. His guards arrived, a mass of men descending on them all at once, shouting orders and demanding to search the area. The girls stood to the side while the men rifled through the piled-up clothes and kitchen utensils they kept under a tree. The militants confiscated medicine, mainly basic painkillers the girls had been hiding. They found a cellphone. But the girls had already buried their diaries and a Bible, marking the spot with a stone.

“We were no longer afraid,” Naomi told us.

It wasn’t until May 2017 that she and 81 of her classmates were ordered to march to the side of a dirt road, where a row of white Red Cross Toyota Land Cruisers were parked. One after the next, the young women were invited to cross the road by a lawyer, who had been working with the Swiss Foreign Affairs ministry to help negotiate their release. The cars rumbled off, and as the schoolmates cracked open juice boxes, the men who’d held them hostage for three years became small figures on the horizon. The journey had barely begun when the passengers broke into a song from Chibok, loud enough that the entire convoy could hear and join in. Their voices arched and lingered over the a in happy, reaching for a note at the top of the melody.

Today is a happy day!
Everybody shake your body, thank God! Today is a happy day.

Years later, Naomi began to recount these anecdotes to us, recalling a story of courage in the face of horrors that sounded fantastical in their depravity. Nevertheless, after many hours of interviews with the young women held in captivity, it became clear that her account often understated the schoolgirls’ bravery. Naomi and her friends had no reason to believe they would survive their ordeal and every expectation that each challenge to their captors’ worldview would result in physical and mental punishment. They stuck to their principles all the same, staging a rebellion that signaled their determination to persevere.

“We stood our ground,” as Naomi later told us.

Read it all.

Posted in Nigeria, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Violence, Women

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Bernard Mizeki

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, South Africa, Spirituality/Prayer, Zimbabwe

(UCA) Anglican pastor among 50 killed in Congo attacks by an Islamist armed group

An Anglican pastor was among 50 people killed in separate attacks in the troubled eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Local officials and monitor groups said on June 1 that the attacks on May 31 night were the worst seen in at least four years in the troubled Tchabi and Boga regions in North Kivu and Ituri provinces, bordering Uganda.

The army blamed the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist armed group, for raiding villages.

Albert Basegu, head of a civil rights group in Boga, told Reuters that he came to know about the attack there by the sound of cries at a neighboring house.

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Posted in Anglican Church in Congo/Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Republic of Congo, Terrorism, Violence

(Reuters) Nigeria’s military investigates reports of Boko Haram leader’s death

Nigeria’s military is investigating reports that the leader of militant Islamist group Boko Haram may have been killed or seriously injured following clashes with rival jihadists, an army spokesman said on Friday.

Abubakar Shekau has been the figurehead of an Islamist insurgency that has since 2009 killed more than 30,000 people, forced around 2 million people to flee their homes and spawned one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

A number of reports published on Thursday in Nigeria media, citing intelligence sources, said Shekau was seriously hurt or killed after his insurgents clashed with members of Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), which broke away from his group in 2016.

Reuters has been unable to independently verify the claims.

Read it all.

Posted in Nigeria, Terrorism

(Church in Need) Democratic Republic of the Congo: “We are in a state of utter misery”

The Bishop of Butembo-Beni in the eastern part of the democratic republic of the Congo (DRC) denounced the human rights violations being carried out in his diocese by marauding militia groups. In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Bishop Paluku Sekuli Melchisédech explained: “The number of incidents is particularly high in the northern part of our diocese. Armed groups are destroying schools and hospitals. Teachers and pupils are being killed. They are even killing the sick as they lie in their hospital beds. Not a day goes by without people being killed.”

According to the bishop, the crisis has led to a rise in psychological disorders. “We need centers where people can go for therapy. Many people are traumatized. Many have watched as their parents were killed. There are many orphans and widows. Villages have been burned to the ground. We are in a state of utter misery.”

For years, the eastern provinces of the DRC have been besieged by militia groups. Important factors in this development are ethnic conflicts, demographic displacement. and access to raw materials. Over the last few years, the situation has been exacerbated by a powerful radical Islamist element.

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Posted in Religion & Culture, Republic of Congo

(Premium Times) Nigerian Anglican Archbishop Isaac Nwobia calls for national dialogue to address issues of insecurity throughout the country

An Anglican Archbishop, Isaac Nwobia, has urged the federal government to convene a national dialogue to address issues of insecurity in the country

Mr Nwobia, who is the Archbishop/Bishop of Diocese of Isiala Ngwa South (Aba Province), made the call during the 4th Synod of the diocese at St. Peter’s Cathedral Owerrinta, Abia State on Thursday.

The archbishop, while speaking with reporters during the opening session of the Synod, said that national dialogue was important, as the communication gap could be responsible for some of the present security challenges in Nigeria.

“The president should summon us, either as a meeting or a confab, so that people can say why they are annoyed.

“The solution should be that we need to sit down, dialogue and sort things out,” he said.

The cleric condemned the destruction of some of the nation’s security facilities.

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Posted in Church of Nigeria, Law & Legal Issues, Military / Armed Forces, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(AP) Burkina Faso’s 7 Army Chaplains Struggle Amid Jihadist Attacks

In the more than 15 years Salomon Tibiri has been offering spiritual succor as a military pastor in Burkina Faso, he’s never fielded so many calls from anxious soldiers and their relatives as in recent years, when the army found itself under attack by Islamic extremist fighters.

“Before the crisis there was more stability,” Tibiri said, seated in a military camp church in the city of Kaya, in the hard-hit Center-North region. “Now (the soldiers) are busier, and when you approach them you feel their stress—much more stress.”

Once considered a beacon of peace and religious coexistence in the region, the West African nation has been embroiled in unprecedented violence linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State since 2016.

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Posted in Burkina Faso, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(Reuters) “Nation is on fire”: Nigerian lawmakers demand action on security crisis

Nigeria’s parliament called on the presidency, armed forces and police to address the country’s mounting security crisis on Tuesday, with the lower house urging President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency.

The resolutions come as a wave of violence and lawlessness sweeps across Africa’s largest economy. Security forces, including the military deployed across most of Nigeria’s states, have shown little ability to stem the tide.

“The president should immediately declare a state of emergency on security so as to fast track all measures to ensure the restoration of peace in the country,” said a resolution passed by the lower house.

In the northwest, gunmen have kidnapped more than 700 schoolchildren since December, as militants pillage communities in the region.

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Posted in Military / Armed Forces, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Terrorism

(Reuters) ISIS claims deadly attack on northern Mozambique town

Islamic State said on Monday its fighters had carried out an attack on the northern Mozambique town of Palma, where dozens were killed, thousands displaced and some remain missing.

Islamist insurgents hit the town, adjacent to gas projects worth $60 billion, with a three-pronged attack on Wednesday. Fighting continued on Monday, according to a security source directly involved in efforts to secure the town.

The government confirmed on Sunday that dozens of people had died, including seven when their convoy of cars was ambushed during an escape attempt.

Islamic State claimed the attack via its Amaq news agency, saying its fighters had taken control of the town after days of clashes with security forces.

Read it all.

Posted in Mozambique, Terrorism

(Guardian) Tanzania’s first female leader urges unity after Covid sceptic Magufuli dies

Tanzania’s new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, has said the country should unite and avoid pointing fingers after the death of John Magufuli, her Covid-19 sceptic predecessor.

Wearing a red hijab, she took her oath of office on the Qur’an in a ceremony at State House in the east African country’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. She is the first female head of state in the country of 58 million.

Hassan, vice-president since 2015, gave a brief and sombre address after she was sworn in, addressing a heavily male crowd that included two former presidents and uniformed officers.

“This is a time to bury our differences, and be one as a nation,” she said. “This is not a time for finger pointing, but it is a time to hold hands and move forward together.”

Read it all.

Posted in Tanzania

(Mail+Guardian) Stop oil and gas drilling in Namibia’s Kavango Basin immediately — Anglican Church

Thirty-four Anglican bishops and three archbishops from around the world have signed a petition that “respectfully” calls on Namibia’s and Botswana’s governments to halt exploratory drilling in the Kavango Basin in northern Namibia immediately.

In their petition, the faith leaders decry the “imminent desecration” of the Kavango Basin in Northern Namibia and Botswana by Canadian oil and gas company, ReconAfrica.

The signatories include the Archbishop of Cape Town, Reverend Dr Thabo Cecil Makgoba; Archbishop Julio Murray, the chair of the Anglican communion environmental network; Archbishop Mark Macdonald from the Anglican Church of Canada; and Bishop Kito Pikaahu, chair of Anglican indigenous network; and the Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Reverend Nicholas Roderick Holtam.

“ReconAfrica claims that drilling the Kavango basin is ‘pretty much a no-brainer’,” the petition reads. “We call it a sin. To destroy life and God’s creation is simply wicked.”

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Namibia

(NYT) Nigeria’s Boarding Schools Have Become a Hunting Ground for Kidnappers

When nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped from their boarding school by the Islamist group Boko Haram in 2014, the world exploded in outrage. Hundreds marched in the country’s capital, the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls was picked up by then First Lady Michelle Obama and Nigeria’s president scrambled to respond to the mass abduction in the village of Chibok.

It seemed an aberration. But since last December, mass kidnappings of girls and boys at boarding schools in northwest Nigeria have been happening more and more frequently — at least one every three weeks. Just last Friday, more than 300 girls were taken from their school in Zamfara state. They were released this week, the governor of the state announced early Tuesday. The week before, more than 40 children and adults were abducted from a boarding school in Niger state. They were freed on Saturday.

With Nigeria’s economy in crisis, kidnapping has become a growth industry, according to interviews with security analysts and a recent report on the economics of abductions. The victims are now not just the rich, powerful or famous, but also the poor — and increasingly, school children who are rounded up en masse.

The perpetrators are often gangs of bandits, who are taking advantage of a dearth of effective policing and the easy availability of guns.

Read it all.

Posted in Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Teens / Youth

(EF) An interview with Salah Chalah, President of the Protestant Church of Algeria

Q. How was the year 2020 for Protestant Christians in Algeria?

A. From October 2019 to today, Protestants in Algeria feel wronged in their constitutional right to worship in public and freely. 2020 was a very difficult year for us Protestants, who have been deprived of our places of worship – until today.

We have sent three letters of complaint to the President of the Republic, but so far there has been no response. What is difficult for us is the absence of the fraternal communion in our weekly prayer meetings, Bible studies and, especially, our times of common worship (the Saturday meeting).

What encourages us is to see that despite this situation, Christians organise themselves into small groups in houses for communion. It also encourages us to see new conversions; and baptisms in rivers, at sea, in houses. We cannot stop the Spirit of the Lord, God continues to touch hearts.

Read it all.

Posted in Algeria, Religion & Culture

(CI blog) Extraordinary Teens in Ethiopia Help Farmers Save Crops During Locust Crisis

When the locusts threatened the food security and livelihood of their neighbors, they stepped up.

“As part of the community, when the plague came to the neighboring counties and when we saw the devastation, we decided to coordinate the church members and mobilize the youths to help the farmers with their harvest,” says Pastor Solomon. “We believed it was better to do preventive work than rehabilitation. We also wanted to pass the message that we stand by them whenever they need support. It was the least we could do.”

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ethiopia

(Nigerian Tribune) Anglican Bishop Olumakaiye Urges Prince Oyinlola To Fight For The Oppressed At 70

The Diocesan Anglican Bishop of Lagos, Rt Revd Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye has urged the former Governor of Osun State, Prince Oyinlola Olagunsoye to fight for the oppressed as they are being exploited.

Olumakaiye said the exploitation is frustrating; thus affecting the effectiveness of the country’s growth and development.

He made this plea while addressing the congregation at the Holy Communion and Thanksgiving Service marking the 70th Birthday of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos.

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Posted in Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General

(ABC) More Chibok girls have escaped from Boko Haram almost 7 years later, parents say

Emmanuel Ogebe, a Nigerian human rights lawyer who practices in the United States and has previously worked with some of the freed girls and their families, said a parent told him that his daughter and others have escaped their captors.

“Mr. Ali Maiyanga’s two daughters were part of the few Muslim schoolgirls taken with the majority Christian Chibok girls. Information currently available to us indicates that there are other escapees with the army whom parents are anxiously waiting to identify,” Ogebe said in a statement to ABC News late Thursday. “We spoke and confirmed from Mr. Ali Maiyanga moments ago that he in fact spoke with his daughter today, who informed him that she along with others were rescued. Her sister who escaped four years ago and is on school break was overjoyed at the news of her sibling’s escape.”

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Posted in Nigeria, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Women

(Local Paper) 2 cases of South African strain of coronavirus in SC, 1st cases reported in US

Two South Carolina patients are the first in the United States to be diagnosed with a mutated strain of the coronavirus, raising concerns that this more transmissible variant could become dominant here and throughout the country.

There are now a few variants of COVID-19 spreading from different parts of the world. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced Thursday that the two patients in South Carolina were diagnosed with the B.1.351 variant, a strain first identified in South Africa about six weeks ago.

President Joe Biden added the African country to a travel ban earlier this week in order to mitigate the spread of the virus, but the restrictions come weeks after the South Carolina patients tested positive in early January. It was only determined this week that they tested positive for this specific new variant.

One patient is from the Lowcountry and the other is from the Pee Dee, according to DHEC, and both are now ”doing well,” according to one health department official. The agency released few other personal details, citing patient privacy, but did say the two cases are not related and neither person had a known travel history.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Health & Medicine, South Africa

(CNBC) Pfizer vaccine appears to neutralize a key mutation of Covid variants found in UK, South Africa

A coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to be effective against a key mutation in the more infectious variants of the virus discovered in the U.K. and South Africa, according to a study conducted by the U.S. pharmaceutical giant.

It comes as countries scramble to contain the variants that are significantly more transmissible, with public health experts anxious about the potential impact on inoculation efforts.

The research, published Thursday on preprint server bioRxiv and not yet peer-reviewed, suggested the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine worked to neutralize the so-called N501Y mutation.

The N501Y mutation has been reported in the more infectious variants. It is altering an amino acid within six key residues in the receptor-binding domain — a key part of the spike protein that the virus uses to gain entry into cells within the body.

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Posted in Drugs/Drug Addiction, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Science & Technology, South Africa

(NYT front page) Hope Dries Up as Young Nigerians Disappear in Police Custody

AWKA, Nigeria — In the small family portrait gallery hanging above the television in the cozy home of the Iloanya family, only two framed photographs remain that include the youngest son, Chijioke.

He disappeared eight years ago. His parents, Hope and Emmanuel, last saw him in handcuffs in a police station run by the feared unit known as SARS — the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

They have been searching for him ever since, along the way encountering an industry of merchants peddling hope: lawyers, human rights groups and the churches and pastors who asked for the photographs of Chijioke, promising to pray over them and help bring him back.

“They give you a prophecy that he will come back,” said Hope, a devout woman of 53, staring at the gaps on her salmon-pink wall. “Whatever they tell you to do, you do it.”

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Nigeria, Personal Finance & Investing, Police/Fire, Politics in General

(WSJ) Nigerian Boys Taken in Kidnapping Claimed by Boko Haram Are Freed

More than 300 schoolboys kidnapped by gunmen from their boarding school in northwest Nigeria last week were handed over to security agencies late Thursday, Nigeria’s government said, prompting outpourings of relief and joy across Africa’s most populous nation after fears they would become long-term hostages of jihadist militants.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aminu Bello Masari, the governor of Katsina state, announced in a televised interview that 344 of the boys had been handed over in the forest of neighboring Zamfara state and would be immediately driven to Katsina for medical treatment.

The release comes six days after the students were seized from their dormitories at the Kankara Government Science Secondary School in Katsina and driven into the nearby forest, marking one of the largest mass school kidnappings in history. President Muhammadu Buhari praised the military and security agencies in a statement that offered prayers for the full recovery of the victims. They “endured significant hardships in the course of their ordeal,” the statement said.

Local newspaper The Katsina Post tweeted images of dozens of schoolboys jammed onto the back of trucks, some looking dazed, but others sporting wide smiles for the camera as they headed toward home. Government officials said the boys would be given new clothes before an audience with the president on Friday.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Military / Armed Forces, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism

(Wash Post) Boko Haram claims the kidnapping of 300 boys in Nigeria, marking an alarming move west

Boko Haram asserted responsibility on Tuesday for laying siege to a secondary school in northwest Nigeria and abducting more than 300 boys, marking a striking leap from the extremist group’s usual area of operation.

Hundreds of gunmen on motorbikes surrounded the boarding school in Katsina state Friday night and opened fire on police, witnesses said, before rounding up students and dragging them into the woods.

Abubakar Shekau, the group’s leader, said in an audio message released in the early hours of the morning that fighters stormed the school to discourage “Western education,” according to Nigerian media outlets and researchers who reviewed the recording.

Read it all.

Posted in Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence

([London] Times) Africa becomes new focus for Isis terrorism

Islamic State terrorism is surging in Africa while in the western world the threat from far-right extremists has overtaken that from jihadists.

The 2020 Global Terrorism Index found that despite a fall in the global terrorism death toll for the fifth year running, Africa was suffering a dramatic increase in jihadist violence linked to Islamic State.

“The centre of gravity for Isis has now shifted to sub-Saharan Africa,” said Steve Killelea, founder of the Institute of Economic and Peace which produces the annual index. “Seven of the ten countries with the largest increases in terrorism all reside in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, Terrorism, Violence

(Spectactor) Things fall apart: Ethiopia’s terrifying descent into civil war

The world’s first conflict triggered by Covid-19 exploded on 4 November in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray. Before your eyes glaze over at news of fresh African horrors — hundreds dead in battles and air strikes, ethnic massacres, civilians fleeing, charities calling for food aid — consider this frightening new reality. For the first time in modern history, wars and insecurity now ravage a continuous line of African states from Mauretania’s Atlantic shores to the Red Sea — a 6,000km Sahelian suicide belt of jihadis, state failure and starvation. Intervene too hard in this mess and you get David Cameron’s ill-conceived 2011 Libyan bombing raids. Gaddafi gets butchered in a storm drain, the arsenals are pillaged and weapons flood the Sahara. Ignore Africa’s suffering and it comes back to bite us all, as we have seen with waves of migrants heading north on the perilous sea passage to Europe.

The Tigrayan leader Debretsion Gebremichael is not your typical African rebel. Thirty years ago he was a radio intelligence officer, who kindly agreed to transmit my Reuters reports in Morse while I was covering the guerrilla war against Ethiopia’s communist government. I was the only foreign correspondent accompanying the rebels as they advanced through a land of obelisks, inselbergs and hilltop monasteries. I saw the Tigrayans as Africa’s Afghans — impossible to beat in their highland redoubts, ascetic, xenophobic and obsessed with how badly they’d been oppressed….

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Posted in Ethiopia, Military / Armed Forces

One of the most important stories in the last month in case you missed it–A BBC expose about a baby stealing operation (yes, really) in Kenya

Somewhere, Rebecca’s son is 10. He could be in Nairobi, where she lives, or he could be somewhere else. He could, she knows in her heart, be dead. The last time she saw him, Lawrence Josiah, her firstborn son, he was one. She was 16. It was about 2am one night in March 2011 and Rebecca was drowsy from sniffing a handkerchief doused in jet fuel — a cheap high on the city’s streets.

She sniffed jet fuel because it gave her the confidence to go up to strangers and beg. By the time she was 15, Rebecca’s mother could no longer support her or pay her school fees, and she dropped out and slid into life on the street. She met an older man who promised to marry her but instead made her pregnant and left. The following year Lawrence Josiah was born, and Rebecca raised him for a year and a few months until she closed her eyes that night and never saw him again.

“Even though I have other kids, he was my firstborn, he made me a mother,” she said, fighting back tears. “I have searched in every children’s centre, in Kiambu, Kayole, and I have never found him.”

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Kenya, Marriage & Family