Hello to the few and the brave and the patient, after three months I return with a wealth of content to discuss: starting with Africa.
Let us open with catching up on the crisis in South Sudan and CAR which the world seems fit to ignore but which I will update you on. As mainstream media last mentioned it months ago, one might be forgiven for thinking matters had calmed down. Imagine being told a while ago a train was coming to run over a damsel tied to the tracks, and that the train was also filled with orphans and nitroglycerin. Now imagine you were not told again about the doomed damsel and exploding kiddies for a few months.
Do you think anybody in that scenario is now fine and has not been blown up or smashed to bits? The situation has, unsurprisingly, not improved.
The South Sudanese rebels have broken the tenuous ceasefire by attempting to retake the town of Nasir, their former base of operations. The rebels, under Riek Machar, have claimed it was because the state attempted to arrest a rebel commander whilst the government says Nasir has most definitely not fallen. I feel disinclined to believe Mr Machar’s side because of how the whole conflict came about in the first place.
The president Salva Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup so sacked him. Machar denied the claims. Machar then formed a rebel army to overthrow the government. I’m sorry Riek, but that’s a coup; you can’t go to the employment tribunal for unfair dismissal when you were definitely planning exactly what you were fired for. It’s childish, Riek.
In Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou Negoh heads efforts for a ceasefire to the vicious sectarian conflict in the neighbouring Central African Republic. New estimates on the death toll for the violence, which to the people of CAR and any observer must surely be senseless now, stands at 2,599. Take into account that few are these will be militia. They will be the blameless, the innocent and the helpless. One can only hope that the negotiations in Brazzaville will, as Amnesty International implores, not provide safety for murderers.
To close out this snapshot of African difficulties, Boko Haram continues to terrorise Nigeria. From where many of us, and even I myself sit, we cannot comprehend the suffering these thugs are causing in northeastern Nigera. The 270 schoolgirls stolen and ready to be sold as slaves (a report is being prepared on Boko Haram’s abuses against women and girls) and the 59 boarding school boys burned to death are two moments which stand out in our memory, but it is so much worse.
In the first six months of 2014, 2,053 civilians have been killed by Boko Haram and the Nigerian government seems totally incapable of stymieing the flow of atrocities. More farcically, in its wildly impotent efforts, the Nigerian Security Forces themselves have committed human rights abuses. Crimes against humanity are happening and the state is incapable of stopping them.
There we have it, caught up on the poor state of these countries. Stay tuned this week for posts on MH17 and Gaza.
A few helpful links