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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Secretary of State John Kerry tours the General Electric compound in Angola
This week, the House will vote on the Electrify Africa Act. This bill directs the president to draw up a multi-year strategy to strengthen the ability of countries in sub-Saharan Africa to “develop an appropriate mix of power solutions” to provide electricity, fight poverty and “drive economic growth.”
Because of strong pressure from climate justice advocates, some positives—such as integrated resource planning and decentralized renewable energy—are named as a part of that mix. But because it still leaves the door wide open to fossil fuels, the bill doesn’t go far enough to protect people or their environment.
And the debate over Electrify Africa continues as the Senate drafts a companion bill.
Powering Fossil Fuels
Behind both pieces of legislation is a White House initiative announced last summer called “[ http://fpif.org/electrifying-africa-cost-africans/ ]Power Africa.” It frames President Barack Obama’s approach to energy investment on the continent, which has been condemned by environmental justice groups. It’s an “all of the above” energy strategy that favors the fossil fuel companies that are destroying the planet and corrupting Washington.