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As you know we have dared to ask many questions that the media won’t ask when researching the violence in Africa and the Middle East. There have been very disturbing reports coming not only from Syria, Central African Republic, but also Nigeria. In the most recent attack, Boko Haram entered a village and attacked a boarding school, burning it to the ground with students and others still inside. It was reported that they separated the girls from the boys. Telling the girls to run away and get married, just as their brand of sharia law calls for. Women are not allowed any other life except marriage. The very name Boko Haram means ‘Western Education is Sinful.‘ It was also reported that they separated Christians from Muslims, but these stories of religious separation are not widely reported.
Today in the Christian Science Monitor they asked the question, ‘Where was the Nigerian Army’? That’s a question that we all want answered. It was reported that the security forces didn’t arrive for at least 2 hours. Reports claim they ‘slaughtered some like rams.’ (More) As the Government struggles for answers, they’re coming under fire. Where was the army? In the CAR they are struggling with the same questions. This article from the Fides agency sheds a little light on what they would like to do with the army in Nigeria.
Abuja (Agenzia Fides) – Nigeria is still shocked after the killing of more than 40 students in a dormitory of the government run Buni-Yadi college in the north eastern state of Yobe, during the night of 25 February. The assailants, probably members of the Islamic sect Boko Haram, spared the girls but set fire to the dormitory where the boys were sleeping. Those trying to escape were killed in cold blood.
Attempting to give a sign of commitment to the general public, the Nigerian Senate has ordered army chief of staff Major General Kenneth Minimah, to move his office temporarily to Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, one of the three states with Yobe and Adamawa where a state of emergency was imposed in May 2013 to facilitate the task of the armed forces to hunt down Boko Haram.
The Nigerian Senate has also charged Major General Minimah to tighten security measures in schools in areas of Boko Haram violence, which has caused thousands to flee to neighbouring Niger, where the situation is very precarious. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 27/2/2014
It’s hard to understand why the UN has not demanded more forces sent to Nigeria, and the CAR. In Nigeria, the Boko Haram, a ruthless band of rebels with ties to Al-queda brandishing their own vicious brand of murderous religous law. And in the CAR the army has been rendered virtually helpless in controlling the violence. French troops and African Union troops are helping there, but still the weapons smuggling and kidnapping trades run rampant along side fleeing refugees. There are worries that if they don’t get a handle on things soon, other groups like Boko Haram will enter through their porous borders. It’s an established fact that the Lord’s Resistance Army has operated in this area. And a weapons shipment was intercepted recently on the Camaroon border on the way to the Boko Haram in Nigeria.
There are those in Nigeria who are trying to help and are ministering to the victims and their families. But they are under constant danger. The public is fearful, and are growing weary from the violence. Why these groups want to constantly attack defenseless children, we will never understand. But the attacks continue and grow in frequency. Pray for the leaders of these regions, pray for peace, pray for calm, and pray for protection, comfort and strength for the weak, innocent and our Brothers and Sisters.
Boko Haram Islamists in Nigeria accused of killing sleeping children(The Guardian)
Credit to Wikimedia Commons for Map : Nigerian states by population density, english version of map from german wikipedia [http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild:Bev%C3%B6lkerungsdichte_Nigerischer_Bundesstaaten.png]
By VOP Advocates L.Kanalos/C.Refsland
Religious Leaders In CAR Calling For Calm : “Churches and mosques must be rid of armed infiltrators”
Bangui (Agenzia Fides) – It is necessary to disarm “infiltrators” in churches and mosques in order to counteract gangs of militia and looters presently terrorising the country. This appeal has been launched by Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga and Oumar Kobine Layama, respectively Catholic Archbishop and Imam of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, according to information given to Fides News Agency. “May all the brothers carrying weapons hand over their arms. The military must disarm everyone, in churches and in mosques. Too many Central Africans carry weapons, Muslims and Christians. Arms take no sides” said Archbishop Nzapalainga.
“Armed men have moved into places of worship, even into mosques” the Imam agreed, calling for support for disarmament operations on the part of international forces sent to the Central African Republic to help local authorities stem the violence.
After the toppling from power of the Seleka Rebel group, the so-called Anti Balaka militia (composed of various groups, including bandits and criminals) has unleashed a man-hunt for Muslims, accused of being accomplices of the Seleka.
Looting has reduced the country to the limit . During a meeting with a councillor at the Embassy to the Order of Malta, Fr. Elkana Ndawatchi, representative of the archdiocese of Bangui, cited a report issued last May 2013 by the World Health Organization, which found that out of 117 health centres visited in the areas most affected by armed conflict, 49 hospitals and health centres had been destroyed and 80% of the medical staff had been forced to evacuate the central areas of country.
“In Bangui – the priest added – of 24 healthcare existing centres only 17 are able to function and 9 of these are Catholic medical centres. While out of 4 hospitals at the secondary an tertiary levels only 3 still offer some assistance.” The representative of the Order of Malta gave the local Church 5 million CFA Francs to support affected Catholic health centres and said that more aid in the form of medical drugs is presently held at up at the port of Douala (Cameroon) because roads between the two countries are insecure. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 24/2/2014)
What we know about recent events in Africa:
- We know from recent reports that the borders in and around the Central African Republic are very porous allowing refugees to flee, but with those refugees are also rebels in hiding, posing security threats in the far north, from those fleeing CAR, chad, Nigeria and Sudan.
- We know these threats include kidnapping and concealed militants.
- We also have reports of arms smuggling and shipments traveling the region, in fact a recent shipment was intercepted from a man attempting to smuggle 655 guns into Nigeria.
- We also know that the Boko Haram are operating and causing destruction, murder and chaos in Nigeria. So are the arms from the rebel factions in CAR like the Seleka, and the Anti-Balaka being transported to Boko Haram and vice versa? It’s almost impossible to tell.
- It’s being reported that observers are quick to point out that the Boko Haram in Nigeria is a major force driving the weapons trade.
- And, it’s also reported that the government in CAR has not evaluated or determined where millions of arms that were reported looted from their armories have gone.
- According to several reports , David Mekong (Political Analyst) is quoted as saying that the Boko Haram in Nigeria have escalated their war, and this does seem to offer explanations as the reports of arms smuggling and trafficking through other war zones, such as Sudan, CAR, Liby and DRC. He is also credited with this quote: “After wars, firearms are sold at relatively low prices, a real business opportunity for traffickers. As disarmament and demobilization is taking place in CAR, arms from the conflict can easily reach Boko Haram and others crisis zones.”
This entire area is becoming a hot bed of illegal arms trading, human trafficking, smuggling, and kidnapping. Children are most vulnerable. While they concentrate on who is doing what and who is who in CAR, rebels and weapons are making their way into other volatile regions. And still the question of who is training and organizing the militant group known as ‘Anti-balaka’ goes unanswered. I heard a interview on Al-Jazeera, a biased but growing media outlet. The announcer asked this question, of who was training and arming the Anti-balaka, and the expert avoided it all together. No answer except they are a Christian Militia. Here is a screen shot from that video:
Still unanswered questions, that lead to still more questions. While the violence escalates, pray for the people in these regions. Pray for peace, pray for protection, and comfort. Pray for swift travel for those providing aid.
Sources: The Nigerian Tribune, The Fides Agency, The IRIN