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Ethiopians badly burned in South Africa anti-foreigner violence
April 11, 2015 | 0 Comments

Johannesburg (AFP) – Two Ethiopian nationals suffered serious burns when their shop in a South African township was set alight by a mob, police said Saturday, as violence against foreign immigrants spread.

The men were in the shop in Umlazi, south of Durban, when it was petrol bombed on Friday night.

[caption id="attachment_17415" align="alignleft" width="300"]A worker from the eThekwini municipality cleans up after a xenophobic attack on a Somali businesses in Umlazi township, south of Durban, on April 10, 2015 (AFP Photo/Rajesh Jantilal) A worker from the eThekwini municipality cleans up after a xenophobic attack on a Somali businesses in Umlazi township, south of Durban, on April 10, 2015 (AFP Photo/Rajesh Jantilal)[/caption]

“They suffered severe burn wounds and are being treated in hospital,” police spokesman Thulani Zwane said.

Three people including one foreigner had been killed in violence between residents and foreign nationals that has been raging for the past two weeks in townships south of Durban.

Seventeen people have been arrested over the recent attacks.

“The situation is still tense in all affected areas, and police are out in force to prevent further clashes,” Zwane said.

The unrest erupted two weeks ago in Isipingo and Chatsworth, where several grocery shops owned by foreign nationals were looted and vandalised.

It has now spread to KwaMakhutha and Umlazi, also in the south of Durban, forcing over a thousand mostly African foreign nationals to flee their township homes.

Some of those who have fled are being housed in community halls and tents pitched in sports grounds.

Police said the reason for the current outbreak in xenophobic violence was unclear.

However clashes between immigrants and locals are not uncommon in South Africa, as impoverished residents often accuse foreigners of taking their jobs.

President Jacob Zuma Friday spoke out against the attacks, saying “no amount of economic hardship and discontent will ever justify attacking foreign nationals”.

He said the government was “deeply concerned” about the violence.

Meanwhile, Zulu king Goodwill Zwelithini, who recently came under fire for suggesting that immigrants should “pack their bags and leave” the country, has rejected the comment as a distortion.

In a statement issued Friday, the king said the attacks were “taking our continent backwards”.

[caption id="attachment_17416" align="alignright" width="300"]Foreign nationals are escorted to safety by members of the South African Police Service after a xenophobic attack in Durban on April 8, 2015 (AFP Photo/Rajesh Jantilal) Foreign nationals are escorted to safety by members of the South African Police Service after a xenophobic attack in Durban on April 8, 2015 (AFP Photo/Rajesh Jantilal)[/caption]

“A mere suggestion that people who were looting were doing that under the king’s instruction is disingenuous,” said the king, who commands respect in the Durban region that is mostly inhabited by Zulus.

Some foreigners have begun to fight back, with a group protesting against the violence in an illegal march on Wednesday that was broken up by police who fired tear gas.

The latest round of xenophobic violence came just months after similar attacks around Soweto, south of Johannesburg.

Foreign shopkeepers in and around the township were then forced to vacate their premises after violence and looting broke out.

In 2008, 62 people were killed in similar violence in Johannesburg townships.

*Source AFP/Yahoo

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Nigerian Born Woman Set To Become The First African Mayor in Spain
March 30, 2015 | 1 Comments

HelenMukoroThe story of Helen Mukoro, the Nigerian born Spanish lawyer, politician and writer fits in as the stone the master builders rejected which became the chief corner stone of the building. The same place she was rejected and thrown out due to the color of her skin has equally turned out to be a place she has gained acceptance and is in the path of making history to become the first Afro-Spanish mayor in the kingdom of Spain. And the first Afro-Spanish to form and float an approved and registered political party, Union De Todos, in Spain. A country where Africans don’t have a voice.

But for Helen Mukoro, she has chosen to tread a path where even the Angels are afraid to walk. According to Shakespeare; “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves, that we are underlings”. Helen Mukoro has caught the fire of the wheel set in motion by Obama for other Africans who aspire to follow in his footsteps to stay the course, light a star, and change the world wherever you are. She is daring, learned, intelligent, dynamic, versatile full of gait and energy, and has a sharp grasp of issues. Helen is on news in the Spanish media, and the Spanish press is going after her to have a clue of the black woman who has become the rave of the moment in Spain. Below is an interview she granted to our foreign correspondent in Spain.

Could You Please Tell Us About Yourself?

Helen Mukoro is my name. A Spanish Legal Consultant, Writer, Forensic Expert and Politician. I was born in Delta state, Nigeria to Mr. Anthony Mukoro (the late Director General of the Defunct Bendel state Government Treasury’s Cash Office, and Mrs. Mary Mukoro and Apkomudjere (a retired Civil Servant Governor’s Office, Delta State, Nigeria). A niece to Dr. A.G Onokhoraye (ex -Vice Chancellor of University of Benin. A step daughter to Hon. Justice Emmanuel Akpomudjere (the late Chief Judge of Delta State, Nigeria). I attended College of Agriculture, Anwai, Delta State, Nigeria, where I obtained a Diploma Certificate in Agriculture. And Left the shores of Nigeria to Spain in 1992.

Studied Law at the Spanish National University Alicante, and holds a Master degree in Criminology. Masters degree in Social Education, a Post Graduate Certificate in Tax and Labor Management, a Post Graduate Certificate in Forensic Psychology, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Immigration and Domestic Violence. Worked as a legal Consultant (immigration department) at the Red Cross Society, Spain. Owner of a legal firm. President at the African Europe Chamber of Commerce. And founder of the party, Union De Todos, Spain.

Why Did You Decide To Go Into Politics?

I went into politics because; we have to become more involved in decisions that affect us as citizens. And we have an obligation to ensure the legacy we leave to future generations: Politicians, we all are. I saw the need to go into politics as a means to making our own explanation of political leadership that suits the interest of the people and is ready to listen and care for the needs of its constituents.

You Are The Founder And Leader Of The Party, UNION DE TODOS, When Did This Party Come Into Existence?

Yes, I am the founder and leader of the Party, UNION DE TODOS, which means in English, We All Together, or Together We can. This is a new Political party in Spain that was born in 2014.

As An Afro Spanish, How Were You Able To Gain Acceptance Into The Spanish Society?

When you talk about being accepted, it is said that “when you are in Rome, live like the Romans” Being accepted in Spain is for you to know how to live in Spain. You don’t go and stand on the road naked, and you expect people to accept you, or you go and do drugs, and you want people to accept you. Another factor is Education, 90% of African community in Spain don’t have basic Education. All these have to do with knowing how to live. I know where to go, when to go, and whom to go with and stay out of crime. By that way I was able to integrate and gain acceptance.
You Are Running For The Mayor Of Denia- Alicante, What Motivated You To Go For That?

Denia- Alicante is a very beautiful place with about 45,000 inhabitants. What motivated me to run for the seat of Mayor of Denia is the situation Spain is now. It is even enough to make a dead man to wake up and say, I am back to my feet again. The Politicians that ruled between the past 8-10 years did more harm than good. There was corruption, and a lot of things went wrong. People could not afford to pay for their basic needs, not that the country is poor, but because money is being taken away. Spain is no longer that super country that used to be everybody’s dream. I felt that, Spain has to come back to be what it used to be, Spain has to stand on its feet, Spain is not a lazy country, Spain is not a doomed country.

How Is Your Popularity And Candidacy Among African Immigrants And Spanish People?

I start with the Spanish, because in my city Denia, we have just a few Africans. The Spanish knows about us. The Media has given us a very good coverage. The power of the Media, that’s where the campaign is. Because it’s an advanced country, they like information, they love to buy newspapers before they buy bread because they want to know what is happening. We have been on the news, everywhere I go on the street, I hear Mayor, Mayor, and the tide is high.

What Support And Assistance Do You Need To Actualize Your Dream?

What we need at this moment is that, the Nigeria and African Governments should come forth and support us morally and financially, because if it happens we win, not just me, it’s a victory for Africa. I am the first to found a political party here, and heading for the Mayor of my city, tomorrow it will no longer be news. As the first, let it not be the last, let it be the beginning and not the ending. That is the reason I need to break the ice, and now the ice has been broken, and they need this push. My aim is that, in a few months and years from now, you begin to see a lot of candidates from Nigeria and Africa all over the place. Therefore, I call upon all Africans in Spain to go for the same party and start using the name of the party to aspire for any level wherever they live, if they decide and like what we do. Because the victory will be a history that will never be erased. They can say that Nigeria is the first country to produce a black leader in Spain. That will be a pride to Nigeria and Africa. If we get there, Nigeria and Africans in Spain will begin to be respected in a different dimension.

Nigerians And Africans Don’t Have a Voice In Spain, How Will Your Party Help Africans To Gain Recognition?

I have begin to notice that the group of Africans, and Nigerians coming into Spain lately are different from the first group of people that came to Europe earlier, the Nigerians that migrated first to Italy and Europe spoiled their names everywhere. There is a different group of people coming in now, those that have the value for Education, a lot of them starting churches etc. When the people see these things, gradually, it makes their mentality and concept to change as they begin to see that they are organized towards positive things. If we win, I will convey to the National Government that the Universities here should be bi-lingual, because the language is a barrier that prevents African immigrants to acquire University Education as it is in United States of America and Great Britain. Also, I will ask that Africans should be given bursary and in addition, finance their housing facilities as rents are high and it is difficult for African students to meet up with the high cost of accommodation during the cause of their studies, because I believe that the best way to integrate into a society and gain acceptance is through Education.

You Are Multi-talented, Lawyer, Politician, Writer, And I can Say, You Are, a Child Of The Universe, Please Tell Us About Your Forays Into Writing?

I crawled into writing because of what happened to me, which made me feel, it is good to write to keep records, create awareness, and write for people to know their rights. I have launched into world history with these books: ‘The Case That Bruised My Heart, Eight Thousand Miles, A City Of Two Umbrellas, Another Will Open, Make Wealth Everywhere, The Reward Of A Good Man, What Good Is Happiness, High Level Of Effectiveness, Leadership, A Thorn Rose, and ‘In A Closed Business Growth.
*Source nigeriamasterweb
*Photo Caption – Helen Mukoro

 

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Ethiopian cinema focuses on prostitution
March 7, 2015 | 0 Comments

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Price of Love, in Amharic, has been nominated for Africa's top film award at the Fespaco festivalEthiopian scriptwriter and film director Hermon Hailay says she grew up close to prostitutes.

“I know them as young, beautiful women, mothers, sisters and friends,” she tells me at a popular cinema in the middle of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. “I always wanted to tell their story, because I know it well. As a kid, I did not see the shame in what they do.” At just 28, Ms Hermon has already written and directed three feature films, all tackling social issues like poverty and the perils of rural to urban migration. She was getting ready to travel to Burkina Faso for Africa’s biggest film festival Fespaco, where her latest film, Price of Love, has been nominated for the top prize. It follows the life of a young taxi driver who in the course of his job falls in love with a prostitute.

Hermon Hailay speaks about her latest film Price of Love

He is then forced to confront his past, having been raised by his mother, who also earned her living from prostitution. This is not uncommon in Ethiopia where prostitution is widespread, but is at times spoken of in low tones. Despite the country’s impressive and fast-growing economy, a large part of the population still lives on less than a dollar a day. Every evening, heavily made up “business ladies”, as they are called, line up on Addis Ababa’s streets in short skimpy dresses. “In the three movies I have done before, I had small roles of prostitutes and I always wanted to have a major role in one of them,” says Ms Hermon. “It’s of course a very controversial topic and people ask me why I include such roles in my movies but I think we have never told enough, and if we think prostitution is bad, we should change that by loving them, not shunning them – that is the message of my movie.” ‘Change a life’

Ethiopia is full of film lovers and most evenings you will see long queues at local cinema halls showing the latest Amharic language and Western releases.

[caption id="attachment_16940" align="alignright" width="300"]Cinemas showing the latest releases are popular in Addis Ababa Cinemas showing the latest releases are popular in Addis Ababa[/caption] “I have seen the trailer and it’s a movie I just can’t wait to watch because it’s not only based on reality but more importantly has a message in it,” says Arega Bekele, who runs a restaurant often frequented by people leaving a nearby cinema. Twenty-eight-year-old Meseret, who was in a cinema queue and had seen the trailer, agrees. “Out there, one of those beautiful young ladies will watch that movie and it will change her life forever,” she says. Across town at a restaurant frequented by middle-class Addis Ababans, I met three young people having their lunch who had seen Price of Love. They were more critical about the film, feeling it did not offer anything new. “This is just a regular story that has been told over and over again in Ethiopia,” says one of them, an office manager. “It’s of course a difficult issue to tackle here and many young girls are just getting into it because of the money they get,” she says. But while there may be critics, many agree that Ms Hermon deserves praise for bringing the Ethiopian film industry into the limelight. Price of Love was filmed by a crew of just eight people – all Ethiopians. Max Conil, a producer born and raised in the UK, was a consultant on the film and says their work ethic and dedication was exceptional. “It doesn’t matter if they win at Fespaco or not. This is already a big win not only for them but also Ethiopia’s film industry,” he says. Ms Hermon believes Ethiopian films can compete with the best in the continent and on the international scene. “Just look at our neighbours Kenya, beyond to Nigeria and South Africa, we have the culture, the stories and the people, we can be like them,” she says. *Source BBC]]>

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Tech-savvy 'barefoot law' opens doors of Ugandan justice
February 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

By Amy Fallon* [caption id="attachment_16525" align="alignleft" width="300"]Gerald Abila's tech-savvy legal aid project, Barefoot Law, has helped hundreds of thousands with advice (AFP Photo/Isaac Kasamani) Gerald Abila’s tech-savvy legal aid project, Barefoot Law, has helped hundreds of thousands with advice (AFP Photo/Isaac Kasamani)[/caption]

Kampala (AFP) – When revealing photographs of a Ugandan student were leaked online in a case of revenge porn, it left her terrified she herself might face criminal charges under tough new laws.

With the photographs then printed in tabloid newspapers following repeated threats, the devastated and humiliated victim turned to lawyer Gerald Abila, whose innovative and tech-savvy legal aid project, Barefoot Law, has helped hundreds of thousands with advice.

“She was hiding from shame – and at the same time hiding from legal prosecution,” Abila told AFP, explaining how a 2013 anti-pornography law had created controversy and confusion, with those featured in naked photographs fearing arrest.

“But we said if your photo has been taken and leaked, then you can easily take the person who has leaked it to the police – and actually have them arrested,” he added.

Barefoot Law was born two years ago when Abila, now 32, began offering legal advice via social media and Skype on his smartphone in the east African nation.

Today it is an award-winning non-profit social enterprise with nine volunteer staff reaching thousands of people a month, spreading beyond Uganda to countries including even war-torn Somalia, where thousands of Ugandan soldiers are peacekeepers.

Barefoot Law — which also offers legal aid through phone, text message and email — provides a “dial-a-lawyer” service through its website, barefootlaw.org, as well with a smartphone app.

For many Ugandans, it is the only source of legal advice they can access.

“Don’t end up playing the victim and being intimidated by what is going on,” Abila said.

– Justice, not mob violence –

The site offers an employment guide and a will template for free download, as well as Uganda’s constitution – something Abila said needed to be consulted as much as religious texts.

“It gives you your legal rights on earth, while the religious book gives you your rights in heaven,” he stated.

With parliament passing a series of laws — including controversial statutes outlawing homosexual acts — it can be hard for ordinary people as well as policeman on the ground to keep up.

“There is this thinking that the law is a magic bullet, and in the case of any ‘social problem’ — like HIV, homosexuality, miniskirts — just bring in a law and it will be sorted out,” said Abila.

In the case of the anti-porn law, Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo initially insisted it meant women could be locked up for wearing skimpy clothes in public.

But the law passed in December 2013 not only has a sweeping definition of “pornography” with no clear mention of what that means – it also contains no reference to a miniskirt.

Last year, the Barefoot Law team were bombarded with up to 200 queries a day from across the country worried about the law – including women stripped by mobs for sporting miniskirts.

“People were taking things into their own hands,” said Abila, adding that the law had “opened a Pandora’s box”.

One woman was nearly stripped by a gang in Mbale in eastern Uganda, yet police failed to help her.

Barefoot Law shared her experience online. Within an hour, 7,000 people had viewed their alert, with local media and police informed of the reality of the law.

“We tried to educate people, saying: ‘In case any of you decided to take this law into your own hands, you’ll be charged with indecent assault, assault or battery’,” said Abila.

“For all you women, in case you’re a victim call this number, you can get in touch with us or the police.”

– ‘Legal rebel’-

Today Barefoot Law receives up to 100 queries a day ranging from the sometimes absurd to everyday issues.

One query — “Can animals be arrested?” — was asked after two protesters were held along with two piglets they had sneaked into parliament as part of an anti-corruption protest.

Another enquired whether there was a law to take action “when the neighbour’s tree falls into my compound, as opposed to going and beating them?”

In remoter parts of the country, Barefoot lawyers offer advice via radio stations.

“You have a population talking about mob justice but you want the population to believe in the law,” said Abila, adding that many people had lost confidence in a judicial system swamped by backlogs of thousands of cases.

“A lot of these issues can be nipped at the bud if only you know what the law is,” he added.

“All you have to do is get in touch, because ignorance of the law is no defence at all.”

Last September, Abila was given a “legal rebel” award by the American Bar Association, and in January, Barefoot scooped the Facebook page of the year category at the inaugural Social Media Awards Africa in Nigeria.

“We’ve changed people’s mindsets towards a lot of issues,” said Abila. “Some people even want to go to law school now.” *Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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Zimbabwe: Buyanga Makes South Africa Rich List
February 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

Photo: Facebook Zimbabwean businessman Frank Buyanga has been named among some of Africa's youngest United States dollar millionaires with "incredible success stories" by a South African newspaper. Photo: Facebook
Zimbabwean businessman Frank Buyanga has been named among some of Africa’s youngest United States dollar millionaires with “incredible success stories” by a South African newspaper.[/caption] A ZIMBABWEAN businessman has been named among some of Africa’s youngest United States dollar millionaires with “incredible success stories” by a South African newspaper. The New Age described property and micro finance magnate, Frank Buyanga, 35, as an “entrepreneurial ray of hope”. Buyanga, who recently splashed on a US$345,000 Bentley Mulsanne, was named alongside five other “US dollar millionaires from South Africa and the rest of the continent who have inspirational stories”. “Zimbabwe may be experiencing the worst economic meltdown in its history but Frank Buyanga has proved to be an entrepreneurial ray of hope for young businesspeople hoping to make it,” the New Age reported. Buyanga, the paper added, is “among the richest young businesspeople in Africa… with impressive investments in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zambia and as far as the United Kingdom.”

The report however noted that Buyanga’s success had “upset his competitors in his home country who accused him of conning people of their properties” leading to a lengthy police investigation which was wound up in January with the Zimbabwe Republic Police stating in High Court papers that it had found no evidence of criminality against him. The New Age also listed 44-year-old South African billionaire Elon Musk, a co-founder of PayPal; 38-year-old Mark Shuttleworth who founded Thawte, an internet security firm; Nigerian Uche Pedro, founder of Nigeria’s authoritative entertainment and fashion website Bella Naija, and South African Sbusiso Leope, also known as DJ Sbu, who left the studio to become a bestselling author and recently launched a new energy drink, Mo-Faya. Buyanga’s Hamilton business portfolio has tentacles spread across property investments, micro finance lending, insurance and funeral assurance following his recent acquisition of Cell Funeral. The flamboyant businessman, with an estimated US$20 million personal fortune, has used some of his riches to amass an impressive garage of supercars – his latest toy a 2014 $345,000 Bentley Mulsanne named last August in BBC Top Gear’s top five luxury cars that guarantee “utter serenity”. The Bentley, which came third in that list, “will show those peasants who is boss,” Top Gear said in the review, which listed the Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB as the ultimate and the Mercedes Benz S-Class 350 BlueEfficiency as its first runner up. *Allafrica]]>

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PDP USA Stands Unflinchingly Behind President Goodluck Jonathan & a free, fair and peaceful Electoral Process
January 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

Jonathan-pdp-primaries-winnerPDP USA stand together for a transparent, free, fair and peaceful electoral process at the local, state and federal levels and violence-free before, during and after the elections. We believe in unity, development, purposeful and visionary change in Nigeria through meaningful political actions. Our unique place in the diaspora to see events in the country from an outside-the-box perspective enables us to give unbiased assessment of our stewardship, and then ask the critical and thought-provoking question: Is the cup half full or half empty? That said, we cannot seat idly by while our house is on fire. The coming presidential and congressional elections in Nigeria on February 14 are perhaps different due to many contentious issues in the country, and we have thus resolved to be heard loud and clear. Our members in the US diaspora stand in solidarity with the home front, and are pleased to challenge the good people of Nigeria. We more especially implore our president Honorable Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to speak openly, clearly and directly to Nigerians on the burning and contemporary issues of the day and new plans for a governing reform agenda. We acknowledge and celebrate the many achievements, some not so obvious, of Presidential Jonathan’s administration that have brought change, joy and smiles to many Nigerians, as well as recognize the failings of immense proportions that, all too often, are overlooked and yet ail many Nigerians. We would differ with fellow compatriots who may attempt to sugar coat them for parochial reasons. WHY A VOTE FOR PRESIDENT JONATHAN 2nd TERM IS A VOTE FOR CONTINUITY: • National Power Reform is on course and services are showing measurable improvements as of today • Development progress in the affordable housing mandate for low and middle income families • Agriculture expansion and rural development that now contributes up to 26% of our national Gross Domestic Product – GDP • State-of –Arts continuing progress in the rehabilitation of national Railway Networks across the country • Established 9 new federal universities and rehabilitated existing universities and teaching hospitals • Agriculture sector growth with new farm silos, improved export of produce, subsidized agricultural products, improved seedlings and modern irrigation systems • Multi-level vocational and skills training institutes to create new jobs • Upgrade of old airports and construction of new airport terminal • Road networks and rehabilitation of highways – 32 highways and 651 Km roads completed • E-collect systems for fertilizer distribution of agricultural inputs and products nationwide • Federal primary health centers established for improved healthcare delivery • Major erosion and flood control projects, flood victims resettlement • Dredging of river ways for construction of new river jetties and waterways for movement of goods and services • Solar powered portable water purification and supply for rural communities • Renewed vigor in security measures underway to combat Boko Haram with a better equipped and motivated military in cooperation with France and ECOWAS community states VOTE FOR A SECOND TERM CHANGE YOU CAN COUNT ON: Presidential Executive Actions to Effect Desired Changes in Economic and Governing Reform Agenda • Aggressively prosecute corrupt public officers and expose any public corruption • Improve responsible governance and emphasize probity in the various organs of government • Hold contractors accountable to complete roads and bridge projects awarded in the first term • Curtail the excesses of government roles esp. in absolute power • Rein in the excesses of first ladies in politics but women empowerment • Encourage more accountability and control the arbitrary use of security votes by state governors and federal ministers • Streamline the excessive budget of the National Assembly – the Senate and House of Representatives • Urgently improve national security, stop Boko Haram by a newly invigorated and better equipped military, with the support of a competent internationally acclaimed contract private security militia. • Give periodic State of Affairs on the economic and social health of the country • Ensure payment of pensions, salaries and benefits of workers • Guarantee that Fuel prices at the pump reflect the new realities of today’s lower crude oil prices • Complete rehabilitation of the remaining dilapidated highways in the country • Create more apprenticeship centers, young business incubators and vocational training centers for the creation of new jobs and start-up small businesses • Monitor and eradicate crude oil pilfering and sale receipt losses by introducing fool-proof accounting standards in the system, and implementing inviolable sovereign fund savings for the future generations of Nigerians • Implement a major governing reform and to form a highly visionary Dream Team government of technocrats These are profound statements for well-intended actions of national interest, and PDP USA pledges to use all the levers of the international community to encourage and support our President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term administration to live up to the tenets of this agenda for the good of Nigeria. There is still work to be done and Nigerians are becoming increasingly apathetic and untrusting of their government. They are hungry for a meaningful change through a strong, purposeful and visionary leadership of the PDP. The truth will make us whole and set us free, and by the grace of GOD we shall win!!! We trust in one and great Nigeria. PDP! PDP!! PDP!!!………Long Live Nigeria!!! Forward ever!!! Signed: PDP USA Rapid Response/Strategic Committee: Hon. Dr. Harold Molokwu, Chairman PDP USA Hon. Dr. Akin Awofolaju – Chairman, Rapid Response/Strategic Committee Hon. Ms. Tai Aladefa Olowu – Secretary Hon. Franklin Afam Nwandu – member Hon. Emmanuel Akorede – member Hon. Engr Paul Ogedegbe – member Hon. Muharija Gadah – member Hon. Uzoma Nwachukwu – member Hon. Clementine Cain – member Hon. Dr. Ego Amake – member Hon. Chief Gabby Ayo – member *Sponsored Content From PDP USA]]>

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‘Super nun’ in Congo helps victims of Lord’s Resistance Army
October 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

By Bharati Naik and Atika Shubert,*

Sister Angelique Namaika has been recognized by the U.N. for helping female victims of the Lord's Resistance Army

Sister Angelique Namaika has been recognized by the U.N. for helping female victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army

A Congolese nun working in the Democratic Republic of Congo is making a difference.

Sister Angelique Namaika has been recognized for her extraordinary humanitarian work with victims of atrocities committed by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, the militant group led by African warlord Joseph Kony.

The LRA took up arms against the Ugandan gvernment in the 1980s and soon became notorious for killing, kidnapping and brutalizing people throughout central Africa. Its members are known for hacking off the lips and ears of their victims, looting villages and burning huts, and stealing clothes and medicine from the communities they terrorize. Those who survived attacks have been deeply scarred.

Namaika, who has received the Nansen Refugee Award United Nations award for her work in the DRC, has helped rebuild the lives of more than 2,000 women and girls caught in the LRA’s web. She has dedicated the award to all the women and children who were abducted by the LRA.

Namaika said she was inspired to follow the path of social work as a child when she saw a German nun, Sister Tone, who used to visit her village to help the less fortunate.

“I thought it was worth giving more efforts for the women that had suffered at the hands of the LRA for two to three years,” she told CNN. “It was very difficult because I had to bring some sort of cure, to relieve them of what they had been through. One of the main goals of providing these trainings was for the women to feel valued within society and be autonomous.”

Pope Francis offers blessing

The number of people trying to recover from the LRA’s reign of terror is staggering. The group has displaced 2.5 million people in the DRC, Uganda, South Sudan and the Central African Republic over the last 30 years, according to the U.N., making it the world’s largest and longest-running displacement predicament. Countless families have been destroyed or split apart in this time.

Namaika told CNN: “Some women did not directly witness the atrocities performed by the LRA, but they saw them through their children whom they counted on. This one woman had three of her children taken from her, two boys and a girl, one of the boys was killed in the jungle, the other had both his arms amputated, and the girl had a sexually transmitted disease. And this woman carries this pain in her heart.”

Namaika recently met with Pope Francis and sought blessing for the victims of the LRA. Just before the meeting she said: “I am going to ask him for a special blessing for us and for me, for me to continue to have the courage I need to fulfil my mission to help women to find their lives again.”‘

Working in the north-eastern Congolese town of Dungu, Namaika said she has worked with women who were captured by LRA rebels when they were as young as 11 or 12.

Sister Angelique Namaika meets the Pop, Oct. 18, 2013

Sister Angelique Namaika meets the Pop, Oct. 18, 2013

“For me, the impact on the country is what they have done in the hearts of thousands of Congolese children. He kidnapped children, who represent the future of the country. It is as if they destroyed the future of the country.”

“They still spread fear throughout the local villages, and no matter what anyone thinks, even if someone feels safe, Kony could come out with his group very unexpectedly. People are still very afraid of going through what they went through.”

After years hiding in the jungle, the number of LRA fighters is thought to be down to a handful, and the U.N. report says there’s been a drop in the frequency of attacks against civilians. It is good news, but as Namaika knows, the healing will go on for years to come.

*Source CNN

 

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