A Jihadist’s Face Taunts Nigeria From the Shadows

New York Times

Recommended by Eucharia Madueke, SNDdeN

Nigerian children studying the Quran in the area where Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, was once educated.  Credit Benedicte Kurzen for The New York Times
Nigerian children studying the Quran in the area where Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, was once educated. Credit Benedicte Kurzen for The New York Times

Nigerian children studying the Quran in the area where Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, was once educated. Credit Benedicte Kurzen for The New York Times
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — He was the quiet one who walked silently to meet fellow disciples in a house by the railroad tracks, declining to greet other men on the street. But when he became agitated — over taking up arms against the government, or about his hatred of Christians and Jews — it was no use arguing with Abubakar Shekau.

A junior disciple who did so discovered the cost: Locked in his room by Mr. Shekau for a week with no food or water in the 100-degree heat, he barely survived. And on torrid evenings here in Maiduguri, Mr. Shekau’s antigovernment harangues resounded through the dusty streets.

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LCWR Justice and Peace Alert

Immigration Reform-If not now, when?

The State of Play

It is sounding more and more as if we may see some kind of  immigration reform legislation move forward in the House before the August recess.  More and more Republicans of every stripe are speaking privately and publicly about the need to get something done in this Congress.

Folks who know more than I do are suggesting that there is a “legislative window of opportunity” that may be open from May 19 to July 31.  There could be 3-4 packages of legislation that would address:

•     Border security
•     Interior enforcement using state and local law enforcement
•     Some kind of Dream/Kids Act that will not include parents
•     Legalization with NO “special” pathway to citizenship
•     An increase employment-based visas
•     A mechanism that would reduce the family backlog

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Nigerians defy terror to keep learning


By Margee Ensign President, American University of Nigeria, Yola
Recommended by Eucharia Madueke, SNDdeN

A woman at a protest in Abuja over the abduction of schoolgirls by Boko Haram
The abduction by Boko Haram of schoolgirls has focused attention on the threat to education in north-eastern Nigeria.

What’s it like to keep teaching during a state of emergency? The president of a university and group of schools describes the urgent need to protect education.

“I need to leave early today,” said the imam. We were in an urgent meeting called to deal with the increasing violence in our region. “I have to pick up my girls from your tutoring programme.”

I live in north-eastern Nigeria. The emergency is the terrorism of the Boko Haram whose recent kidnapping of girl students with the threat to sell them into slavery has rocked the world.

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Militarized Humanitarianism in Africa


Joeva Rock

An AFRICOM beach assault training exercise in Toubakouta, Senegal. (Credit: Lance Corporal Timothy Solano/public domain)
WASHINGTON – As the world remains transfixed by the kidnapping of almost 300 Nigerian girls, there have been increasing calls for international intervention in the effort to rescue them. But what many people don’t know is that the U.S. military has been active in the region for years.

With the Iraq War over and the war in Afghanistan slowly ending, it is becoming increasingly apparent – from [ http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20140210/NEWS/302100001/3-star-AFRICOM-commander-details-future-missions-continent ]interviews with generals, recommendations from [ http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2014/01/strengthen-stability-africa-ohanlon ]influential think tanks, and private conversations with military personnel – that Africa is the U.S. military’s next frontier.”Rather than the ‘shock and awe’ of Iraq, the military has attempted to put a friendly face on its expedition to Africa.”

U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the newest of the U.S. military’s six regional commands, has rapidly expanded its presence on the African continent since its establishment at the end of the Bush administration.

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Twin explosions rock Kenyan capital

Al Jazeera

At least 10 people die in market and bus blasts in Nairobi, as countries issue travel warnings and evacuate citizens.

Two explosions have killed at least 10 people in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, according to the country’s National Disaster Operations Centre.

One blast on Friday targeted a 14-passenger vehicle that Kenyans use for public transport, the disaster centre said.

Another explosion occurred in Gikomba market, located to the east of the capital’s central business district.

“Very many people are injured. I don’t know how many are dead but for sure there are fatalities,” said Mwangi Maina, a trader who was selling second-hand shoes at Gikomba Market.

The Kenyan Red Cross said that five of its ambulances were evacuating casualties from the blast sites and that more than 10 people were hospitalized.

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CAFOD Hungry for Change campaigners petition Downing Street

Independent Catholic News

The group outside Parliament
The group outside Parliament

A group of CAFOD campaigners from around the UK visited Downing Street a year ahead of the next general election, with demands from over 60,000 CAFOD supporters asking David Cameron to take action to end world hunger.

The group, which included Molly-Kate McCaffrey, Elizabeth Biggins and Angela Powell from Sheffield Hallam, Rita Belletty from Portsmouth and Stephen Bone from Westminster, hand delivered the requests to Number 10 on Wednesday 7 May, in an event that marked the end of the aid agency’s latest hunger campaign Hungry for change. Throughout the campaign, CAFOD has been calling for more targeted aid for small-scale farmers and greater checks on the power of global food companies.

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Nigeria soldiers ‘fire at army commander in Maiduguri


Soldiers say they lack the firepower to tackle insurgents

Soldiers in Nigeria have opened fire on their commander in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, witnesses say. Maj-Gen Ahmed Mohammed escaped unhurt after soldiers shot at his car at the Maimalari barracks, the sources said. The soldiers blamed him for the killing of their colleagues in an ambush by suspected Boko Haram militants.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s president has ruled out freeing Boko Haram prisoners in exchange for the release of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls.

A government minister had earlier said authorities were ready to negotiate with Boko Haram, but President Goodluck Jonathan insisted on Wednesday that this was out of the question.

“He made it very clear that there will be no negotiation with Boko Haram that involves a swap of abducted schoolgirls for prisoners,” said British Africa Minister Mark Simmonds after meeting Mr Jonathan in the capital, Abuja, to discuss an international recue mission for the girls.

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