A Mass Abduction in South Sudan

UNICEF dramatically increased its estimates of the number of boys aged twelve and older who were recently abducted in South Sudan by forces aligned with the government. “The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said on Sunday it feared that hundreds of school boys were kidnapped in a mass abduction on February 15 and 16. It had previously estimated that at least 89 boys were taken by an armed group in Wau Shilluk, a government-held area of South Sudan’s oil-rich Upper Nile state…Witnesses to the abduction said the men surrounded the community and went door-to-door, taking away by force any boys thought to be over 12 years old. UNICEF said the children were taken while doing their exams, describing the abductions as a mass recruitment operation.” (DW http://bit.ly/1Cga7Gm)

Sierra Leone’s VP Under Ebola Quarantine…A stark reminder that the outbreak is far from over. “Sierra Leone’s Vice President Sam Sumana, who put himself into quarantine after one of his bodyguards died from Ebola, asked fellow-citizens on Sunday to “have me in your prayers.” In a message relayed by the country’s sole TV station, he also appealed to all those in contact with his late bodyguard “to report to health authorities for your status to be checked.” Sources at the vice president’s office said this weekend that Sumana is not in danger but had decided to stay out of his office for the next 21 days and work from his home in the west of the capital.” (AFP http://yhoo.it/1wFTqg4)

So Horrible on So Many Levels…A crowd beat to death a teenage girl accused of planning to be a suicide bomber and then set her body ablaze Sunday, according to police and witnesses at a northeastern Nigerian market. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wFSZT0)


Seven Rwandan rebels have been killed and at least 20 captured in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a government offensive that has widened to include swathes of the country’s southeast, authorities said Sunday. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1DHbN9z)

A woman suicide bomber on Saturday killed two passers-by and her accomplice in an attack in northeast Nigeria, witnesses and security sources said. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1BuxhaC)

The Malian government signed a peace agreement with some northern armed groups on Sunday in Algiers but the main Tuareg rebel alliance asked for more time to consult its grassroots. (AFP http://yhoo.it/18C3MZg)

Several thousand people took to the streets of Cameroon’s capital on Saturday to denounce Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency and call for the killing of the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1DHcobx)

Thousands of Burundians took part in a government-backed rally “for peace” Saturday, where speakers took aim at the opposition, civil groups and the media, accusing them of leading the country towards war. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1DHcpMx)

The people of Lesotho voted on Saturday in a tense election they hope will restore stability six months after an attempted coup in the southern African nation. (GlobalPost http://bit.ly/1DHbTy7)

The UN-AU mission in Sudan’s Darfur will cut 770 civilian jobs, it said on Saturday, as it faces pressure from Khartoum to withdraw from the war-torn western region. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1DHcsrA)

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara’s main coalition partner on Saturday formally endorsed a deal to support the incumbent’s bid for re-election in polls later this year. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1DHcekq)

The remains of two prominent anti-apartheid activists who were among the mentors of Nelson Mandela were flown back home to South Africa nearly 40 years after they died in Russia. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Buws1i)

Rwandan investigators on Saturday urged the government to take action against the BBC and ban its radio programmes from the country’s airwaves over a controversial documentary questioning official versions of the 1994 genocide. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1DHcsYJ)

Madonna’s much-hyped bid to set up a girls’ academy in Malawi failed. Now villagers are ensuring their daughters stay in education, and success is built on small steps – like making sure pupils have lunch. (Guardian http://bit.ly/1BuBdIs)


The United Nations envoy to Syria is sending a mission to the contested city of Aleppo to determine the situation on the ground and help ensure that humanitarian aid can reach civilians in need if a local truce is reached, the U.N. said Sunday. (AP http://yhoo.it/18C3MbG)

Egypt’s parliamentary poll looks set to be delayed after a court ruled that part of an election law was unconstitutional and the main election committee said it was working on a new timetable for the long-awaited vote. (Reuters http://bit.ly/1BuwW7O)

The builder of the first planned Palestinian city in the West Bank says Israel has agreed to connect Rawabi to its water grid, ending months of costly delays. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wFTiNC)

Islamic State released 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on Sunday after processing them through a sharia court, a monitoring group which tracks the conflict said. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/18C4mGs)

Extensive damage to Gaza’s environment as a result of the Israeli blockade and its devastating military campaign against the coastal territory during last year’s war from July to August, is negatively affecting the health of Gazans, especially their food security. (IPS http://bit.ly/1AsVqZv)


Bangladeshis gathered on Sunday to pay tribute to an American blogger and critic of religious extremism who was hacked to death in Dhaka, in the latest of a series of attacks on writers in the predominantly Muslim nation. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1wFSb0D)

An Afghan provincial official says that the death toll from a massive avalanche in a mountainous valley near the capital Kabul rose to 198 as bulldozers and other machinery began clearing roads and rescue teams were able to reach remote villages that have been cut off for almost a week. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wFSkkH)

An index that measures China’s manufacturing activity went up slightly in February but still showed contraction amid China’s economy slowdown, according to official data released Sunday. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wFS0SY)

Phra Buddha Issara is a monk with a mission. From his Buddhist temple near Bangkok he is calling for a radical overhaul of Thai Buddhism, fearing millions of dollars in temple donations and a rapidly modernizing nation are corrupting monks. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/18C3HoB)

The Americas

A retired army general widely seen as a possible presidential candidate in Peru has been formally charged with murdering a prominent journalist 26 years ago during the country’s internal conflict, a prosecutor announced. (AP http://yhoo.it/1DHbT0Y)

President Nicolas Maduro plans to limit the US diplomatic presence in Venezuela and require American tourists to obtain visas, in a sign of growing tensions between the two countries. (AFP http://yhoo.it/1Buxjza)

President Barack Obama would veto a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Senate allowing Congress to weigh in on any deal the United States and other negotiating countries reach with Iran on its nuclear capabilities, the White House said on Saturday. (Reuters http://yhoo.it/1Buxrii)

Guyana said Sunday that neighboring Venezuela is objecting to oil exploration in contested waters off the smaller South American country’s coast. (AP http://yhoo.it/1wFTi0c)


Manipulate and Mislead – How GMOs are Infiltrating Africa (Inter Press Service http://bit.ly/1BuwWEU)

The Do-Gooder Industrial Complex (The Blue Collar Professor http://bit.ly/1zR6K2F)

Snakes and ladders: development NGOs in tough times (Devpolicy Blog http://bit.ly/1CfVbIj)

Silicon Valley likes to promise ‘digital socialism’ – but it is selling a fairy tale (Guardian http://bit.ly/1BuAmYh)

Rating Kenya’s Presidents (Africanist Perspective http://bit.ly/1zR6Hnq)

Why Tell Stories – Or Rather, Why I Tell Stories (Disorder of Things http://bit.ly/1vQlxy1)

Naomi Campbell’s Ebola fundraiser shows ‘saviour complex’ alive and well (Guardian http://bit.ly/1AZCTYH)

I drink your milkshake (Aid Thoughts http://bit.ly/1AZCVj7)

Why the humanitarian community needs to take regional organisations seriously (ODI http://bit.ly/1AZCPrD)