Top of the Morning: Nigeria in Crisis, Again; New Details on Ethnic Clashes in South Sudan; Chips Fall Into Place for Taliban Peace Talks

Top stories from the Development Aid and World News Service–DAWNS Digest. 

Nigeria in Crisis, Again

As if the near daily attacks by Boko Haram were not enough, large scale protests erupted in several major cities on Tuesday by demonstrators angry that the government has ended a two decade-old massive petrol subsidy program. Consumers will have to pay about double at the pump and the masses are *very* displeased. The country is bracing for more protests this week. “An Associated Press reporter at the scene in the megacity of Lagos said the protest had started with activists wielding signs and walking down a major expressway, but before long angry protesters lit bonfires and vandalized at least three gas stations. A wounded man later ran along the road shouting: ‘The police shot me, take me to hospital!’ In the central city of Ilorin, another violent protest where policemen fired tear gas left a man dead. The National Labor Congress accused the police in a statement Tuesday of shooting the ‘antifuel hike protester.’ However, Kwara state police spokesman Dabo Ezekiel denied the claim saying the man was stabbed by motorcycle-taxi drivers angered because they believed he was against their cause. Ezekiel could not say what triggered the attack.” (ABC

Details Emerge on Violent Ethnic Clashes in South Sudan

As a column of 6,000 armed youth approached the town of Pibor, residents fled to the bush to hide from the marauding tribal militia. The UN put the death toll from tribal based clashes this weekend in South Sudan in the “tens or hundreds.” UN Peacekeepers and South Sudanese armed forces are moving into the area, and now people are starting to return. The problem is, humanitarian agencies also fled and there is an acute lack of food, water and other essentials. “‘The situation on the ground now, in humanitarian terms, is grim,” [says UN official Lise Grande] warning that there was ‘no question’ that the returning inhabitants were in trouble. ‘They haven’t had food. They haven’t had access to clean water. And in a number of cases some of their people are wounded.’ Pointing to humanitarian relief efforts, Ms. Grande said the UN World Food Programme (WFP) had flown in its first supplies of aid and distributed it to the most highly vulnerable – unaccompanied and orphaned children. ‘Over the course of the next week,’ she continued, ‘WFP is going to be providing additional support.” She further noted that the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) were also mounting a ‘massive emergency support programme’ (UN News Center

Chips Are Falling Into Place for Peace Talks With Taliban

Earlier this week, the Taliban said they planned to open an office in Qatar as a platform to hold peace talks with the Afghan government and the international community (read: the USA). Today, the Afghan government formally gave its nod of approval to the plan that would let the Taliban and American officials sit across the table from one another. And, as a sign of good faith, the there are rumors that the USA may start to release some Taliban prisoners from Gitmo.  It would seem the pieces are beginning to fall into place that would at least give all sides the opportunity to hear each other out.  (Guardian scoop on Gitmo Deal; ABC on Karzai’s reaction: