Category : Africa

([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

(CNA) Cardinal Sarah says West must wake up to threat of Islamism after three killed at French Catholic church

Vatican Cardinal Robert Sarah said Thursday that the West must wake up to the threat of Islamism after three people were killed at a French church by an attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar.”

The Guinean cardinal wrote on Twitter Oct. 29 that “Islamism is a monstrous fanaticism which must be fought with force and determination.”

“It will not stop its war. Unfortunately, we Africans know this all too well. The barbarians are always the enemies of peace,” the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments wrote.

“The West, today France, must understand this. Let us pray.”

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, France, Guinea, Italy, Politics in General, Roman Catholic, Terrorism

(W Post) Nigerian protesters say security forces fired on them, fueling global outrage

Global outrage mounted Wednesday after security forces in Africa’s largest city opened fire into a crowd of protesters, deepening unrest spurred by anger at Nigerian police.

Ten people died and dozens were wounded after uniformed men took aim at demonstrators the night before at a Lagos toll gate plaza, Amnesty International said, a clash captured from multiple angles on social media.

The violence followed two weeks of largely peaceful demonstrations that prompted Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to dissolve the undercover police unit at the center of the dispute and that critics have long blasted as abusive.

But hundreds returned to the streets Wednesday — despite a 24-hour curfew enforced by riot officers — and thousands more joined solidarity marches in other countries, saying past attempts at ending police brutality in Nigeria had fallen short. Protesters in Lagos, a metropolis of approximately 20 million, said they would not stop until wrongdoers in law enforcement are brought to justice.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Violence

(WSJ) Nigerian Protesters Shut Down Africa’s Largest City, Escalating Standoff With Government

Tens of thousands of protesters brought the largest city in Africa to a standstill on Monday, mounting the biggest demonstration in a two-week campaign against police brutality and escalating a standoff with a government that has pledged to restore order.

Groups of placard-waving protesters blocked major roads across Lagos, Nigeria’s sprawling commercial capital and home to an estimated 20 million people. The city’s Ibadan expressway, the country’s busiest road, was blocked by groups chanting: “We want change.” Protesters closed off the city’s airport and stormed the terminal. In a city infamous for hourslong traffic jams, columns of Lagos residents could be seen walking along emptied streets and causeways.

The Lagos protests were the largest of a series of demonstrations on Monday across the West African nation of 206 million people that appeared to significantly raise the temperature between demonstrators and the government.

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

(Crux) Kidnapped Christians released in Nigeria

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a global campaigner for religious freedom, has called for continued prayers for Nigeria after the release of four students and their teacher who were kidnapped in August.

The gunmen also killed one man and burned down a local church during the raid in the northwestern state of Kaduna. On Saturday, the victims were freed.

“We welcome the efforts that led to their release as we were among the organizations calling for action in their case.” said CSW’s Kiri Kankhwende.

“We must continue to pray for Christians and other vulnerable communities in Nigeria. Pray the children of all communities whose lives have been devastated by violence, and for the safety of Christian leaders, who are increasingly being targeted for abduction, and for wisdom and strategy as they lead their congregations at this difficult time,” she told Crux.

Read it all.

Posted in Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(CC) Philip Jenkins–To understand African Christianity, remember the Battle of Adwa

The new war culminated on March 1, 1896, at Adwa, when the Italian force of around 18,000 allowed itself to be drawn into battle against an Ethiopian army at least six times larger. The Italian force was utterly destroyed as a fighting unit, suffering at least 6,000 dead and losing all artillery and equipment. Only Menelik’s diplomatic sense and restraint prevented his forces from sweeping up all the now defenseless Italian territory that remained on the Red Sea. Why risk his gains when he already had achieved everything he needed? (The campaign is expertly described in Raymond Jonas’s 2011 study The Battle of Adwa.)

The sheer scale of the European catastrophe demands attention. This was a period when White empires might lose the occasional battle, as the British had to the Zulus some years before, but they certainly did not lose whole wars to despised Black Africans. Nor did the familiar stereotype allow for a situation where African commanders outmaneuvered imperial invaders and deployed modern weaponry against them. To put such a reversal of expectations in a US context, we would have to imagine an alternate world where Native forces both triumphed at Little Bighorn and then went on to secure the independence of the whole Black Hills region for a generation.

That context explains the very long shadow cast by Adwa, on Europeans and Africans alike. Italy recalled the battle as an epic humiliation, a horror made all the worse by propaganda tales of the atrocities inflicted on their prisoners of war….

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Posted in Africa, Church History, Ethiopia, Italy, Military / Armed Forces

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

(ANS) UK Politicians Highlight Nigeria’s ‘Unfolding Genocide’

Christian charity Release International has welcomed a new report by UK parliamentarians highlighting the religious element behind much of the growing violence in Nigeria. The report warns of the risk of an unfolding genocide and calls for UK aid to be linked to efforts to protect Nigerian villagers from attacks by Islamist extremists.

Release says the new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Nigeria: Unfolding Genocide? is the result of an investigation by 100 UK parliamentarians from a wide range of political parties.

It describes attacks on churches and Christians which killed more than 1,000 in 2019. A partner of Release International, which supports victims of violence, estimates 30,000 have been killed since the conflict began in the 1980s. The United Nations put the death toll at 27,000.

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Posted in England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence

(Economist) A nine-year-old aims to be the youngest chess grandmaster ever

There are plenty of reasons why Tanitoluwa Adewumi captured the world’s attention in March 2019 after winning the New York State chess championship in his age group. Nine-year-old “Tani” was living in a Manhattan homeless shelter. And he was a refugee. Tani’s family had fled northern Nigeria and sought asylum in America in 2017 after being threatened by Boko Haram, a jihadist group. Oh, one more thing: when Tani took home the state championship trophy, he had been playing for only a year. It is little wonder his inspiring story is already the subject of three books (the first was published on April 14th) and a film.

But the story doesn’t end there. Tani is getting better. Chess players are ranked by the United States Chess Federation and the World Chess Federation using the Elo system. Named after Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-American physics professor and chess enthusiast, Elo ratings are based on a player’s performance in matches, and the skill level of their opponents, according to a mathematical formula. A beginner typically scores 800, an average player 1500 and a professional 2200. Grandmasters score above 2500. After his win a year ago, Tani was rated at 1587, or 20th among eight-year-olds in America. Today he is rated at 2059, number three among players his age, and on track to be number one.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Children, Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism

(FT) David Pilling–No lockdown, few ventilators, but Ethiopia is beating Covid-19

Ethiopia’s technocratic government decided it could not afford a rich-country response to the virus. Though its economy has grown rapidly in recent decades, Ethiopia remains a poor country with a per capita income — adjusted for prices — of just $2,500. When the pandemic began, it had 22 ventilators dedicated to Covid. 

Arkebe Oqubay, senior minister and special adviser to the prime minister, says the government concluded early it could not afford a lockdown that would be difficult to enforce and socially costly. Nor did it immediately stop direct flights from China, a stance for which it was much criticised. Instead, temperature checks were imposed at the international airport. Its first case came from Japan, he says, with later imported infections mainly from Europe.

Instead of strict lockdown, Ethiopia chose a response built around public messaging. “This is not a disease you fight by ventilators or intensive care units,” says Mr Arkebe, “90 per cent of the solution is hand washing and social distancing. The only way we can play and win is if we focus on prevention.”

The government has leaned heavily on a community-based health system built by Meles Zenawi, prime minister until his death in 2012, and his health minister, one Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, now director-general of the World Health Organization. Shunning flashy hospitals, Ethiopia has instead poured what money it can into basic healthcare: vaccination campaigns and child and maternal support.

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Posted in Ethiopia, Health & Medicine, Politics in General

(Reuters) New hotline helps families survive abuse in Congo

Four days after the Congolese government shut down Kinshasa’s pulsating nightlife, her husband knocked out some of her teeth and went to live with his mistress, leaving her bleeding and naked on the floor. Their three children saw it all.

A policy aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus meant that case K1B1 – whose name Reuters is withholding for her safety – had been locked down with her abuser.

“When Marie came to visit me I was still vomiting blood from the beatings,” she told Reuters, referring to Marie Lukasa, who set up Congo’s first domestic abuse hotline a year ago.

During the coronavirus crisis, it’s a service in increasing demand in a country ill-equipped to deal with such abuse.

Read it all.

Posted in Marriage & Family, Men, Republic of Congo, Violence, Women

(CEN) Fears of a surge in Coronavirus cases across Africa

As coronavirus cases have risen across Africa by almost a third in the past week, a leading charity has called for the urgent cancelling of debt repayments from the poorest countries.

Christian Aid said that repayments should be cancelled this year to help countries spend money on saving lives instead.

The charity said that there are now over 16,000 Coronavirus cases in Africa, an increase of 27 per cent over the previous week, with the number of deaths rising by 43 per cent to over 740.

However, they point out that with extremely low testing carried out across Africa so far, the true figure is feared to be even higher, with some warning the continent could see tens of thousands of cases in coming weeks.

Christian Aid added that many African countries lack the specialist equipment or staff to cope with a pandemic. They have published research that shows that in a country like Malawi, there are only seven ventilators for 18 million people.

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Posted in Africa, Health & Medicine

([London] Times) Nigerian General who said Boko Haram are winning is sacked

A senior Nigerian army officer has been relieved of command after a leaked video showed him saying that his forces were outgunned by Islamist fighters.

Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi was removed as head of the operation in the northeast of the country after he was recorded describing an ambush by Boko Haram, who fired hundreds of mortar bombs and rocket-propelled grenades, killing scores of Nigerian soldiers. Many of his colleagues believe that they are losing the wider battle against the militants.

The military claimed that 47 troops died in the attack near the village of Gorgi last month, but sources on the ground said the death toll was nearly twice that.

Read it all (requires subscription).

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

(AI) Archbishop Kaziimba’s pastoral letter asking Ugandans to work from home

Dear Bishops, Clergy, and Christians,

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Even in the time of coronavirus and COVID-19, all blessings flow from God and we offer praise to Him because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13.8) and His mercies never come to an end (Lamentations 3.22).

Today, 25th March, the Ministry of Health has reported five more confirmed cases of coronavirus in Uganda, bringing the total of confirmed cases to fourteen. Yesterday, 24th March, His Excellency, the President of Uganda, addressed the nation and reminded all of us that Uganda can defeat the enemy of coronavirus if all Ugandans will focus on three things:

Distance yourself from people who are coughing or sneezing and reduce all non-essential travel;
Wash your hands often with soap and water;
Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Uganda, Health & Medicine, Religion & Culture, Uganda

(CT) Nigeria’s Government Agrees: Islamist Terrorists Target Christians

In comments given exclusively to CT, the administration of President Muhammad Buhari clarified that this targeting is not new.

“Yes, Boko Haram is targeting individual Christians. In doing so, their target is all Nigerians, and their goal is to divide Christian brother against Muslim brother,” Mohammed, the information minister, told CT.

“What Boko Haram seeks—and always has sought—is to drive a wedge between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.

“By targeting Christians, they seek to promulgate the falsehood that the democratically elected Nigerian government does not care to protect them.

“By targeting Muslims, they seek to promulgate the falsehood that the terrorists themselves follow truthfully Islamic teachings, and those they target do not.

“It is the strategy of the desperate.”

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Posted in Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism

(CP) Al-Shabaab warns all Christians to leave northeastern Kenya

The Somalia-based al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab has “ordered” Christians to leave three counties in northeastern Kenya to allow local Muslims to get all local jobs, according to the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern.

“Muslim teachers, doctors, engineers, and young graduates from the northeastern province are unemployed. Isn’t it better to give them a chance? There is no need for the presence of disbelievers,” al-Shabaab’s spokesman, Sheikh Ali Dhere, said in an audio clip posted online, referring to the counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera.

In the 20-minute clip, the spokesman urged Somali-Kenyans to drive all non-Muslims out if they do not leave on their own.

The majority of the people living in the three counties are Somalis, who fled to Kenya due to war and violence in Somalia.

Read it all.

Posted in Kenya, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Somalia, Terrorism

(EF) Jihadism bets on Africa

The 2019 Open Doors World Watch List (WWL) warned of an “increase in sub-Saharan Africa militia” of Daesh (ISIS), which had dispersed after losing territory in the Middle East.

According to the Christian organisation, “instability, corruption, poverty, unemployment and lack of governance” are an ideal scenario for the growth of radical Islamism, which has also “instrumentalised existing identity-based conflicts to forge alliances to strengthen their base and widen the risk they pose to global security”.

A year later, several countries in the Sahel region that were not on the open Doors WWL until now, have become part of the document. Burkina Faso, Niger and Cameroon are some of the territories in which the increase of violence is closely related to the rise of the presence of jihadism in the area.

The International Observatory of Studies on Terrorism has reported that, while in March 2019, coinciding with the defeat of Daesh in Baguz, its last territory in Syria, there were 28 jihadist attacks in the Maghreb and Sahel regions, with a total of 153 deaths. In January 2020, there have already been 77 attacks and 502 deaths, most of them in Burkina Faso, Mali and northern Nigeria.

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Posted in Africa, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Terrorism

(Church Times) Locust plague in East Africa prompts plea for help

Aa parts of East Africa face the worst plague of locusts for decades, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has made a plea for international help. It described the situation as “unprecedented” and “devastating”.

At the same time, the Christian relief and development agency Tearfund, which works with hundreds of rural self-help groups in the region, has urged people to pray for an end to the crisis.

In Kenya, the insect swarms are the worst for 70 years, destroying staple food supplies and farmers’ livelihoods. In Somalia, where the invasion is the worst for a quarter of a century, a state of national emergency has been declared. This week, locusts were reported to have reached Uganda. Tanzania and South Sudan have been added to a watch list.

In Ethiopia, the influx is the worst for 25 years. Tearfund’s Emergency Officer, Tewodros Ketsela, said: “The region is already struggling after several poor harvests, due to either drought or excess rain. As such, farmers are particularly vulnerable to this new threat. Anyone who is fortunate enough to have food reserves will have to use them up earlier than expected.

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Posted in Africa, Animals, Dieting/Food/Nutrition

(CT) Nigerian Christians Marched Sunday to Protest Persecution

Based on reports from its state chapters and local media, CAN estimates 5 million people marched in 28 of Nigeria’s 36 states on Sunday.

“Though we have protested before, this event took a new dimension,” CAN president Samson Ayokunle told CT.

“With one voice, we said ‘no’ to killings, ‘no’ to security negligence, and ‘no’ to the persecution of Christians in Nigeria. It is a wake-up call to the government.”

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

(Daily Post) Boko Haram executes CAN chairman, Lawan Andimi

The Boko Haram sect has executed Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Lawan Andimi.

This was made known on Tuesday by Ahmed Salkida, a journalist known to have access to Boko Haram.

He tweeted: “To break some news items can traumatize. I’m battling with one of such. Reverend Andimi, abducted by Boko Haram was executed yesterday. Rev. Andimi was a church leader, a father to his children and the community he served. My condolences go to his family.”

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Posted in Nigeria, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(This Day) Gunmen Free Woman After Collecting N60,000 Ransom, As Anglican Cleric and his Son are Attacked

[A] few hours after the release of a 60-year-old woman, Mrs. Banjo Ademiyiwa, sequel to the payment of N60,000 ransom, gunmen last Monday attacked an Anglican Church cleric, Reverend Canon Foluso Ogunsuyi, and his son, who is a Nigerian Army sergeant with machetes.

Ademiyiwa was kidnapped on Ikun-Oba Akiko Road in Akiko North West Local Government Area of Ondo State last Monday just around where Ogunsuyi and his son were attacked.

The cleric is the shepherd in charge of Danian Marian Memorial Anglican Church, Ikun Akoko in Akoko South-west LGA of the state.

A source told journalists that the gunmen during the attack collected valuables, including N92,000 cash from the vehicle in which the cleric and his son were travelling.

While the gunmen spared the cleric, his son who sustained several machete cuts, was admitted at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owo.

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Posted in Children, Church of Nigeria, Marriage & Family, Ministry of the Ordained, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Police/Fire, Religion & Culture, Violence

(EF) Boko Haram kidnaps Christian leader of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria

A leader of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) pleaded for help on a video released on Sunday (Jan. 5) after Islamic extremists with Boko Haram kidnapped him last week.

The Rev. Lawan Andimi was abducted by terrorists of the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP, known as Boko Haram before affiliating with the Islamic State) on Thursday (Jan. 2) in attacks on Michika County and a nearby area in northeast Nigeria’s Adamawa state, sources said.

Pastor Andimi, area EYN district chairman and chairman of the local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, pleads with church leaders to ask Adamawa Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri to intervene for his release in the video. “I have never been discouraged, because all conditions that one finds himself is in the hands of God – God who made them to take care of me and to leave [me with] my life,” Pastor Andimi says.

“I am appealing to my colleagues, reverends, particularly my president, Rev. Joel Billy, who is a strong man, a man of compassion and man of love. He can do all his best to speak to our governor, Umaru Jibrilla [Fintiri] and other necessary agents for my release here.”

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Posted in Nigeria, Terrorism, Violence

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Samuel Ajayi Crowther

Almighty God, who didst rescue Samuel Ajayi Crowther from slavery, sent him to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ to his people in Nigeria, and made him the first bishop from the people of West Africa: Grant that those who follow in his steps may reap what he has sown and find abundant help for the harvest; through him who took upon himself the form of a slave that we might be free, the same Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Church of Nigeria, Missions, Nigeria, Spirituality/Prayer

(WSJ) Bernard-Henri Lévy–The New War Against Africa’s Christians

A slow-motion war is under way in Africa’s most populous country. It’s a massacre of Christians, massive in scale and horrific in brutality. And the world has hardly noticed.

A Nigerian Pentecostal Christian, director of a nongovernmental organization that works for mutual understanding between Nigeria’s Christians and Muslims, alerted me to it. “Have you heard of the Fulani?” he asked at our first meeting, in Paris, speaking the flawless, melodious English of the Nigerian elite. The Fulani are an ethnic group, generally described as shepherds from mostly Muslim Northern Nigeria, forced by climate change to move with their herds toward the more temperate Christian South. They number 14 million to 15 million in a nation of 191 million.

Among them is a violent element. “They are Islamic extremists of a new stripe,” the NGO director said, “more or less linked with Boko Haram,” the sect that became infamous for the 2014 kidnapping of 276 Christian girls in the state of Borno. “I beg you,” he said, “come and see for yourself.” Knowing of Boko Haram but nothing of the Fulani, I accept.

The 2019 Global Terrorism Index estimates that Fulani extremists have become deadlier than Boko Haram and accounted for the majority of the country’s 2,040 documented terrorist fatalities in 2018. To learn more about them, I travel to Godogodo, in the center of the country, where I meet a beautiful woman named Jumai Victor, 28. On July 15, she says, Fulani extremists stormed into her village on long-saddle motorcycles, three to a bike, shouting “Allahu Akbar!” They torched houses and killed her four children before her eyes.

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Military / Armed Forces, Nigeria, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

A BBC Article about the Struggle with Militant Islamism in Western Africa

The current French operation has been running since 2014, co-ordinating on security issues with Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.

They are fighting a complex web of jihadist groups that Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has described as having become “professionals in the art of war”.

An attack by jihadists on an army base earlier this month led to the deaths of more than 70 soldiers in Niger.

In November, 13 French troops died in a helicopter collision during an operation against jihadists in Mali, the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.

Regional leaders have called for more international support to tackle the militants but there has also been rising anti-French sentiment and protests in some cities in the region.

Read it all.

Posted in Africa, Ethics / Moral Theology, France, Mali, Military / Armed Forces, Niger, Politics in General, Terrorism

(Guardian) Archbp John Sentamu–It’s time to act against the oil companies causing death and destruction

The legal system in Nigeria is cumbersome, costly and inefficient. Victims are rarely able to afford the means to justice and redress. While governments must accept a share of responsibility for this catastrophe, the onus lies largely with the multinational oil companies that dominate the scene. They drill and export the oil and gas. They own the inadequate and poorly maintained and poorly guarded infrastructure that have allowed oil spills and other forms of pollution to become systemic for people in Bayelsa.

All too often they do not respect their fundamental human rights and are getting away with a pollution footprint with global consequences, including climate change. Yet those who bear the immediate cost are the people of Bayelsa, where human life appears to be disposable in the pursuit of wealth.

Repentance, reparation and remedy for damage done for decades is long overdue. Too many people treat distant parts of the world like giant rubbish dumps. If you or I behaved like that in our locality, albeit on an infinitely smaller scale, we would be rightly prosecuted for fly-tipping.

We are all temporary tenants on this planet and will be held accountable for its management. Future generations will look at the state of their inheritance and will want to know who in the past benefited from its irresponsible exploitation and who paid the price for it. If there is still an opportunity for the present generation to make amends, we had better get on with it with the utmost urgency.

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Religion & Culture

(Church Times) Hundreds of Christians in Nigeria ‘slaughtered’ by Islamist militia this year

More than 1000 Christians in Nigeria have been “slaughtered” by Islamist militia since January.

This is the key finding of a new report, Your Land or Your Blood, from the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART), which was presented at the International Organisation for Peace and Social Justice (PSJ) crisis conference in London, last month. The PSJ promotes peace-building and social justice in Nigeria.

Since January, there have been five serious attacks in Kaduna State, in the centre of the country, resulting in an estimated 500 deaths. There were at least another five attacks in the counties of Bassa and Riyom, and more in Taraba State. The militant Islamist group Boko Haram remains in power around the Chad border region, including parts of Borno State in the north (News, 19 March).

More than 6000 people have been killed since 2015.

Baroness Cox, who founded HART to promote and support peace and development groups in Nigeria, has recently returned from a research trip to the country. She explained that the Fulani, a nomadic ethnic group of about 20 million people across 20 West- and Central-African countries, were largely responsible for the new wave of violence. The terrorist group was listed as the fourth most deadly in the Global Terrorism Index in 2016 and 2017.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Nigeria, Politics in General, Terrorism

(Economist) Could Sudan’s revolution end the conflict in Darfur?

Sudan has been at war almost without interruption since its independence from Britain in 1956. For years an Arab-dominated Islamist government battled rebels from the Christian and animist south. Perhaps 2m people died in these wars before South Sudan was recognised in 2011 as Africa’s newest country.

In 2003 armed groups began a rebellion in Darfur, a relatively prosperous region the size of Spain where black African locals complained that the government in Khartoum was oppressing them. In response, Mr Bashir armed nomadic Arab cattle-herders, turning them into the Janjaweed, a horse-mounted militia that was unleashed upon black farmers with such savagery that in 2010 the International Criminal Court (icc) indicted Mr Bashir on charges of genocide.

Many of those who were chased from their homes languish in camps near towns like el-Fasher or in neighbouring Chad. Their lands are occupied by armed Arab tribes that the victims still call the Janjaweed. Abdulrazig Abdallah, an elder in el-Fasher, says four people from his camp were killed in early September when they ventured to their farms for the harvest. Such incidents are commonplace.

The new government has declared a ceasefire with rebels, which even the most recalcitrant seem to be observing. “This time both sides are serious,” says a un official. Rebel leaders have been invited back from exile. And the government has markedly improved access for humanitarian organisations and journalists.

Read it all.

Posted in --North Sudan, --South Sudan, Africa, Sudan, Violence