• 500,000 more children uprooted by Boko Haram: Unicef

    18/Sep/2015 // 265 Viewers

    AFP/File | Nigeria is the country worst affected, with nearly 1.2 million children uprooted by the Islamist insurgency


    LAGOS (AFP) - 

    Some 500,000 children have been forced to flee Boko Haram militants in the last five months after an upsurge in attacks in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, the UN children's agency said on Friday.

    The additional numbers of children made homeless has taken the total number of youngsters in the Lake Chad region who have been forced to flee to 1.4 million, Unicef said in a statement.

    Nigeria was worst affected, with nearly 1.2 million children -- more than half of them under five -- uprooted by the Islamist insurgency, which is concentrated in the country's remote northeast.

    Some 265,000 other children have been affected in neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, which Boko Haram has increasingly targeted after they joined Nigeria's military in a regional counter-offensive.

    "Each of these children running for their lives is a childhood cut short," said Unicef's regional director for West and Central Africa, Manuel Fontaine.

    "It's truly alarming to see that children and women continue to be killed, abducted and used to carry bombs."

    Boko Haram has been fighting to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria since 2009.

    At least 15,000 people have been killed since then, some 1,100 of them in a wave of suicide bombings, deadly raids and bomb attacks since Muhammadu Buhari became Nigerian president on May 29.

    Buhari has said he is confident "conventional" attacks will be stopped by November, although suicide and homemade bomb attacks could continue.


    - Help, funding needed -


    Earlier this month, the International Organization for Migration revised upwards its estimate of those internally displaced by the conflict from 1.5 million to more than 2.1 million because of the recent surge in attacks.

    The IOM's head of mission in Nigeria, Enira Krdzalic, said many IDPs living in host communities had yet to receive basic food and shelter, calling for more to be done.

    On Wednesday, the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres also appealed for international help after 16 people died and 172 fell ill in a cholera outbreak at three IDP camps in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria.

    The UN regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel region Toby Lanzer, told AFP thousands of Nigerians who fled to a refugee camp in southeast Niger were in an "atrocious" situation.

    Unicef said it had increased its operations in the Lake Chad region, including child vaccination programmes, education and psychological counselling.

    Nearly 65,000 children under five had received treatment for severe acute malnutrition, it added.

    But Fontaine said more funding was needed because the agency had only received a third of the $50.3 million required to finance its operations in the Lake Chad region this year.

    That has left more than 124,000 children hit by the violence unvaccinated against measles. Some 208,000 are out of school and more than 83,000 lack access to safe drinking water.

    "With more refugees and not enough resources, our ability to deliver lifesaving assistance on the ground is now seriously compromised," said Fontaine.

    "Without additional support, hundreds of thousands of children in need will lack access to basic health care, safe drinking water and education."


    ? 2015 AFP

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  • Ambode's 100 Days: APC Knocks PDP

    18/Sep/2015 // 365 Viewers

    The All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos State has blasted the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for scoring  Governor Akinwunmi Ambode low, describing the assessment as laughable.

    Speaking through its Publicity Secretary in the state, Joe Igbokwe, APC said PDP could not recognize achievement when it saw one and wondered how a party that wrecked Nigeria in 16 years of disastrous leadership could assess performance of a party that had taken Lagos to new heights as one of the few mega cities of the world.

    APC said Lagos PDP lacked sense of reasoning on what performance was.
    It stated: “We see the laughable outings of Lagos PDP in the media after its last disastrous electoral woes as tortuous efforts to stave off its certain death.

    “We see their laughable efforts to critique the government in Lagos as borne out of the near-death struggle to survive its own huge liabilities as a failed party that ran a failed government that prodded Nigeria to the precincts of a failed nation.

    “We wonder what else could make a party that failed woefully in 16 years and which suffered a disastrous electoral defeat as a consequence, to be so obsessed with performance in the first one hundred days than trying to stay afloat when it is being washed away by the tides of history.”

    “However, we want to educate Lagos PDP on performance in office, should they continue to deliberately believe that Nigerians are fooled by their antics.

    Source: Vanguard

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  • Showdown looms as African Union backs BUHARI as mediator to unseat JAMMEH

    19/Dec/2016 // 2388 Viewers


    The Chairman of the African Union (AU), Mr. Idriss Deby, on Monday expressed full support for the decisions adopted by the ECOWAS Heads of State on the political situation in The Gambia.

    In a statement issued in Addis Ababa, Deby commended the ECOWAS Heads of State for their “principled stand with regards to the situation in The Gambia.

    He said the AU was in full support of the decisions reached at the meeting held in Abuja on December 16, including “the consideration to use all necessary means to ensure the respect of the will of the people of The Gambia.’’

    “The Chairman of AU reaffirms its readiness to pursue and intensify coordination efforts with ECOWAS and the United Nations,” the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted the statement as saying on Monday.

    “This is in order to facilitate the speedy and orderly transfer of power to the President-elect, including its full support to President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as ECOWAS Mediator in The Gambia.’’

    Deby, who is the President of Chad, repeated his call on The Gambia’s outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate the smooth transfer of power to the newly elected president, Adama Barrow, as decided by The Gambians.

    He also called on members of the security forces in The Gambia to strictly abide by the country’s Constitution and the rule of law.

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  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali laid to rest with full military honours

    19/Feb/2016 // 344 Viewers


    Egypt’s president has led the funeral procession for the country’s veteran diplomat and former chief of the UN Boutros Boutros-Ghali as he was laid to rest with full state honours.
    Abdel Fatah al-Sisi walked at the front of the cortege as a horse-drawn hearse carried the flag-draped coffin.
    Boutros-Ghali was a scion of a prominent Christian political family: the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church attended the service in Cairo, along with senior church dignitaries. The Coptic patriarch, Pope Tawadros II, said Egypt was bidding farewell to “this fine example in Egyptian life and in Egyptian history”.
    The diplomat, who died on Tuesday at the age of 93, helped negotiate Egypt’s peace deal with Israel, signed in 1979, but then clashed with the US when he served a single term as the UN’s secretary general. He was the UN’s first chief from the African continent.
    He is survived by his Jewish wife, Leia Maria. They had no children.
    The current UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, described him as a respected statesman and scholar of international law who brought “formidable experience and intellectual power” to the job.
    He headed the world body during one of its most difficult periods marked by crises in Somalia, Rwanda, the Middle East and the former Yugoslavia.


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  • ‘Christianity is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world’ - World Council of Churches (WCC)

    19/Feb/2017 // 1035 Viewers


    CHRISTIANITY is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world, says Reverend Fr (Dr) Lawrence Iwuamadi, Professor of Ecumenical Biblical Hermeneutics, at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey.

    According to a report published on the WCC website, in which he was the convener of a discussion on the Anthology of African Christianity, held by the World Council of Churches (WCC) with a panel of experts at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva, Iwuamadi said: “It is said that in the next four years, a quarter of the world’s Christians will be living in Africa, and that is why the anthology is so timely, as well as the 1,400-page book being an invaluable historical and analytical resource.”

    Its 160 essays address, with 30 regional and denominational surveys, along with 50 national surveys, the contemporary social and political issues facing Christians on the continent.

    “Education was the most important factor in the spread of Christianity in Africa,” Iwuamadi added.

    The book also looks at the role of women in the church in Africa where they form the backbone of Christianity.

    Anthology of African Christianity is edited by Isabel Apawo Phiri and Dietrich Werner, Chammah Kaunda and Kennedy Owino and is published by Regnum Studies in Global Christianity, 2016.

    Phiri is the World Council of Churches deputy general secretary for Public Witness and Diakonia. Werner, a former WCC staff member is Senior Theological Advisor for Bread for the World.

    “This is a tool for informed ecumenism,” said Werner. “Ecumenism will have a future only if it is informed ecumenism. We have so many common declarations but have so little of accurate knowledge on contemporary Christianity.”

    Bringing together regions

    “We wanted to bring together regional survey articles on contemporary (21st century) African Christianity and churches in Northern Africa, Western Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa,” said Phiri.

    In an answer to a question, Phiri said: “The theology of African Christianity is influenced by its social context. What are the signs of our times in Africa that we should be responding to?”

    She noted that human sexuality is a big issue “dividing churches” across denominations and between partners from the global south and the global north, and within the families.

    “The aim of the book is to look at how Africans look at their own faith. It is deeply root. It is not artificial Christianity. It is Christianity that makes me who I am in every aspect of my life. Christianity is an African religion. People look at Christianity as defining who they are,” said Phiri, a Malawian, who was a university professor in South Africa.

    Werner observed: “There are several tasks after the production of this books. We need to create a network of research institutions, and of networks doing business ethics. We also have to invent an African scholarship fund.”

    ‘Needed for governments and the United Nations’

    The knowledge about Christianity is needed for governments, and the United Nations is “crying out” to work with faith-based organisations (FBOs), said Werner.

    “We need good knowledge” to aid many endeavours including intercontinental dialogue.

    In an answer to a question he said: “There is no network of African Christian entrepreneurs, as far as I know, and we have not seen developed African Christian business ethics, although in Nigeria and Ghana, there are some beginnings of associations of Christian businesses.”

    A Professor of Ecumenical Missiology at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, Reverend (Dr) Benjamin Simon, described the anthology as a wonderful “bouquet of flowers”.

    He spoke about the chapter on African Christianity and Ecumenism.

    “With its 20 articles from famous theologians from African backgrounds, this chapter could have been a book of its own and still been a bouquet of flowers as it contains a variety of positions and opinions as well as perspectives and viewpoints,” said Simon.

    Role of Christian councils

    “Agnes Abuom, the president of WCC, concluded in her outstanding contribution that, ‘Christian Councils have a place and role in African Christianity…enabling internalisation of Christianity as an African faith’.”

    “We have many churches of the African diaspora all over the world,” said Simon citing America and Europe. Many of their members were born in a foreign country and then transformed through the generations of their members, providing an area where research needs to be done. (NIGERIAN TRIBUNE)

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  • Al Qaeda displays firepower in Africa to defy Islamic State group

    19/Jan/2016 // 472 Viewers


    The terrorist attack that struck the capital of Burkina Faso last week was claimed by al Qaeda’s north African branch. Experts worry it was a show of force in response to the rise of the Islamic State (IS) group on the African continent.

    If global jihad were a race, it would be hard to deny that the IS group is leading the pack of murderous extremists.

    The IS group has taken control of large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, orchestrated brazen attacks and video executions and, in the process, grabbed the attention of global media.

    In a relatively short amount of time, the IS group – sometimes referred to as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh – has also exported its brand by rallying other prominent terrorist groups, like Boko Haram in Nigeria, to its cause.

    However, the IS group now looks set for some stiff competition. The most recent merger between radical Islamist groups in Africa does not include the group, and in fact represents a strategic setback for the group’s so-called caliphate.

    Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in December announced that, after several years of fraught relations, it had reunited with Algerian jihadist Mokhtar Belmokhtar and his Al-Mourabitoune group.

    The January 15 siege on an upscale hotel in the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou was quickly claimed by AQIM, but carried out by Al-Mourabitoune militants, as if to serve as proof that the two groups were really back together.

    The attack, which lasted 12 hours and claimed the lives of 30 civilians from at least seven countries, also served to convey another message: AQIM will strike Western targets in Africa that lie beyond the Maghreb – the expansive region between Libya and Western Morocco that has largely defined its territory in the past.

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     The carnage in Ouagadougou is not the first bloody upshot of the new al Qaeda-Al-Mourabitoune union and its expansionist drive. The attack on the Radisson hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako in November 2015 was already a joint operation.

    Moving south

    Wassim Nasr, FRANCE 24’s expert on jihadist movements, says Belmokhtar’s decision to rejoin AQIM is closely linked to his personal antipathy towards the IS group.

    He was excluded from the al Qaeda branch in October 2012 for insubordination, setting up Al-Mourabitoune as a result of the split. But in May 2015 he was himself confronted with mutiny when one of his top deputies defected to the IS group.

    The number of Al-Mourabitoune jihadists who defected with the dissident commander is unknown. Nevertheless, three months later, the Libyan branch of the Islamic State group issued a notice calling for Belmokhtar’s “elimination”.

    Since its founding in 2007, AQIM has resisted carrying out attacks outside northern Africa, reportedly one of the disagreements that led Belmokhtar to temporarily leave the terrorist group. The attacks in Bamako and Ouagadougou would appear to indicate the question of expansion is no longer a matter of debate.

    “The fact that al Qaeda claimed the operation in Ouagadougou proves that the organisation has accepted this expansion,” Nasr said. “This decision is of course part of a struggle for influence, namely with the IS group.”

    Rival ambitions

    With the battle lines between the two jihadists groups drawn in Africa, AQIM is now eager to show it is still a force to be reckoned with.

    “AQIM wants to display its firepower in defiance of both Western forces and the surging Islamic State group”, said Nasr, adding that the two militant Salafist groups were engaged in a gruesome “one-upmanship”.

    That is not to say the two groups have adopted the same mode of operation on the ground.

    While the IS group aims to sustainably establish itself in a particular territory, such as in Libya or in Nigeria (with the help of Boko Haram), al Qaeda’s priority is carrying out anti-Western operations.

    “AQIM’s enemy is the West, not local regimes,” Nasr pointed out. The attack on Ouagadougou’s upscale Hotel Splendid and the nearby eatery Le Cappuccino seems to be a case in point.

    The two places were known to be very popular with foreigners, especially among French soldiers stationed in the region. The victims included six Canadians, three French, two Swiss and one US national.



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  • AU approves regional force for S'Sudan conflict

    19/Jul/2016 // 358 Viewers


    PARIS, JULY 19, 2016: (DGW) African Union, (AU) has approved a regional force for South Sudan after fighting broke out between rival forces that has so far left hundreds of people dead.

    Soldiers for this mission, DailyGlobeWatch reliably gathered, would be drawn from five African countries namely Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda to join the  12,000-strong UN peacekeeping force already in the country.

    The  AU force, according to officials would have stronger mandate but
    South Sudan's president, Salva Kiir has been reportedly reluctant to allow in foreign troops.

    Clashes over several days between troops loyal to the two men had threatened a recent peace deal.

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  • Tide of death: Libya struggles to cope as migrants' bodies wash ashore

    19/Sep/2015 // 514 Viewers

    Flowers float in the Mediterranean Sea in honor of migrants lost while making the perilous journey to Europe.

    (CNN)They set out full of hope, clutching a few cherished belongings, or the hand of a loved one as they stepped onto the overcrowded, barely seaworthy boats they thought would take them to new lives in Europe.
    But within hours, their journeys across the Mediterranean ended in tragedy. Now days, weeks, or even months later, their bodies are washing up on the beaches of Libya.
    And with no stable, functioning government to take control of the situation, ordinary Libyans are struggling to cope with the tide of human remains.
    Mohammed Misrati, spokesman for the Libyan Red Crescent Society in Tripoli, says most of the migrants' bodies wash up along a stretch of Libya's western coast, in Zuwara, Khoms and Sabrata -- where many of their journeys began.
    "We collected 40 bodies in just one operation in Zuwara," explains Misrati, adding that while he doesn't have exact numbers, he believes the problem is "much worse" this year.
    "It's a problem we've faced for a long time but it's never been this bad," he says. "In previous years it used to be in the dozens, now it's in the hundreds."
    According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of refugees and migrants who have died while trying to cross the Mediterranean this year has already passed 2,000; as of mid-August some 264,500 had arrived successfully in Europe.
    With no officials or authorities stepping in to deal with the situation, Misrati says volunteers from the Libyan Red Crescent have been left to cope alone, patrolling the region's beaches in search of remains.
    "The corpses wash up on shore and our volunteers are having to move the bodies and manage the remains of the dead," he said.
    The LRCS relies on 7,000 volunteers across the country; they come from diverse backgrounds and have varying levels of expertise, but many are not trained to deal with human remains.
    "It is psychologically difficult for them," says Misrati. "What is especially difficult is the sight of the corpses, seeing human remains reduced to meat and bones, often without any way to trace their origin or families."
    The bodies are often found with nothing to identify them, meaning they have to be buried in anonymous graves.
    After collecting the bodies, LRCS's volunteers take them to local hospitals, where the authorities take charge of the remains and attempt to identify them, where possible, and contact the appropriate embassy or community.
    The local authorities also bear responsibility for burying the dead, in graveyards in Tripoli for Muslims, non-Muslims, and the unidentified.
    The International Committee of the Red Cross is helping its Libyan team train and equip the volunteers.
    Migrants, refugees: What's the difference?
    Ammar Ammar, spokesman for the ICRC in North Africa and the Middle East, says it has instructed more than 80 volunteers this month in the proper handling of human remains, as well as providing body bags and personal protection kits.
    "Due to the prevailing security situation and as no system is set in place for handling dead bodies, the LRCS conduct these activities as an auxiliary to the authorities," Ammar said.
    "Their role is limited to the collection and transfer of dead bodies to the competent authorities," he said.
    Aside from the challenges of dealing with bodies that wash up in Libya, the LRCS helps worried families try to trace missing migrants, and offers assistance to those lucky enough to be rescued at sea.
    "The ones who survive are taken to detention centers," explains Misrati, "The Red Crescent visits them [there] to see their conditions, to offer some small financial assistance for a dignified life."
    Even before the recent spike in refugee and migrant-related responsibilities, Misrati says his organization already had its hands full.
    "We have other roles, helping the hospitals, their needs, offering psychological support. We're trying to find help for more than 550,000 Libyans who are internally displaced."
    Without that help, many more of those displaced people may decide they have no other option but to take their chances in one of those overcrowded boats.
    CNN's Schams Elwazer and Bryony Jones contributed to this report.

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  • Burkina Faso: Military takes over after presidential guards detain President, PM

    19/Sep/2015 // 405 Viewers

    A protester holds a loaded slingshot in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou, on Thursday.

    (CNN)Elements of Burkina Faso's military declared they were in control of the nation after presidential guards stormed a Cabinet meeting and seized the President and the Prime Minister -- days before the general elections.
    Guards detained interim President Michel Kafando and other government ministers during the raid in the capital Wednesday, the United Nations said.
    It's unclear where the guards took the President, Prime Minister Isaac Zida and the other officials.
    Hours after their detention, an unidentified military official took to the airwaves Thursday and said the group, now calling itself the National Council for Democracy, "decided to put an end to the deviant transitional regime."
    The official announced that the country's new leader would be a former general, Gilbert Diendere. He was an adviser to former President Blaise Compaore, who stepped down under pressure by protesters in 2014 after ruling for 27 years.
    The interim government failed to establish a "democracy based on consensus," the military official said on national television.
    The official highlighted a series of steps the military is undertaking that include removing the transitional president from office, dissolving the government and forming a broad coalition that will focus on policies that will lead to inclusive elections.
    Demonstrators gathered outside the presidential palace in the capital, Ouagadougou, on Thursday in apparent opposition to the takeover.
    Soldiers fired guns into the air in an apparent effort to contain the crowd, said Mathatha Tsedu, director of the journalists' trade group South African National Editors Forum, who was in the city for a conference.
    U.N., France
    The United Nations condemned the leaders' detention.
    "This incident is a flagrant violation of Burkina Faso's constitution and transitional charter," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. "The United Nations stands firmly behind the transitional authorities and President Kafando."
    French President Francois Hollande appealed for the release of the leaders and the reinstatement of the transitional authorities.
    Days before the raid in Ouagadougou, a commission had recommended the disbanding of the presidential guard unit, which is loyal to Compaore, the former president.
    Protesters toppled Compaore last year after he expressed a desire to extend his 27-year rule. He stepped down after days of mass protests and the military briefly took over before Kafando was appointed.
    Burkina Faso is scheduled to hold general elections on October 11.
    CNN's Margot Haddad, Robyn Kriel, Christian Purefoy and Vasco Cotovio contributed to this report


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  • UN, AU discuss B'Haram, other evolving challenges on African continent, sign agreement on Africa’s security, silent on BIAFRA

    20/Apr/2017 // 305 Viewers


    PARIS, APRIL 20, 2017: (DGW) The UN and the AU on Wednesday in New York, signed a new agreement to better respond to the changing dimensions and evolving challenges of peace operations on the African continent.

    UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Chairperson of AU, Moussa Mahamat, described the new agreement as a landmark framework to strengthen partnership between the two organisations on peace and security pillars.

    Guterres, in his remarks to newsmen after the event, noted that the region was in crisis.

    He, however, said that “Africa is a continent of hope and potential”.

    “We no longer have the traditional peacekeeping operations, where peacekeepers separate two countries or two groups within the same country that have signed an agreement, and a makeshift peace essentially prevails.

    “We are witnessing, in Africa, as around the world, changes that force us to have a strategic review of the way peace operations take place,” Guterres told newsmen, alongside Mahamat, after signing the framework .

    According to him, the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhancing Partnership on Peace and Security is expected to boost the coordination between the two organizations at all levels.

    The UN chief added that the joint framework “is also anticipated to strengthen cooperation on issues ranging from human rights and good governance, to sustainable and inclusive development.

    “The new understanding will also help align the African Union’s Agenda 2063 with the global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to ensure that they are both a ‘success story’ in the continent.

    Mahamat said the time has come for AU to critically assess the security challenges in the region and work with the UN to ensure peacekeeping operations on the continent are more effective.

    The AU chief regretted the terrorist activities in Africa but expressed optimism that the continent has the potential to overcome the challenge.

    He said a Hybrid Court would be established in South Sudan, alongside a national reconciliation conference and the deployment of the protection force, after resolving some operational issues.

    “The decision of the United States administration to reduce its contributions to peacekeeping operations will affect the effectiveness of the operation.

    “But AU is working to increase peacekeeping funds by African countries,” he said.

    Guterres and Mahamat jointly led the first Joint UN-AU Annual Conference where they discussed the complementarity between the 2030 Agenda and the AU’s Agenda 2063, as well as the fight against terrorism and the financing of operations led by the AU.

    They also discussed situations in several countries, including Libya, Mali, the Central African Republic, and Somalia, and discussed efforts to combat the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist group.


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