Al-Shabab militants: Create chaos, pain for Somalis

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR151515AA001.jpegMOGADISHU, Somalia — Sitting under a veranda at the former headquarters of Somali Airlines, Ali Bashir sipped coffee and chewed khat, an African herb, as he recounted 15 years of anarchy fomented by al-Shabab Islamic terrorists.

"Life is very hard here," he lamented. "There's nothing to eat and nowhere to work. But the rebels will come and still ask you for money."

Read more at USA Today

Christian-Muslim conflict: In Central African Republic has refugees afraid to leave camps

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR150315aa002.jpegBANGUI, Central African Republic — No matter how safe they tell her it is outside, Bahriyah Abidah insists she won’t leave the St. Joseph Mukassa camp.

The United Nations recently announced that it was dispatching another 1,000 soldiers to bring the total peacekeeping force in this desperately impoverished country to 13,000 troops. However, France is slowly reducing its force of 2,000 soldiers and the European Union pulled out its 750 troops last month. Both said their presence is no longer necessary.

Read more at The Washington Times

Kenyan leader: Warns rogue imams; militants vow 'bloodbath'

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KEN150915aa002.jpegPARIS — A bloody day in the heart of the City of Light left some of France’s best-known journalists dead and police tracking down the native Islamist terrorists suspected of carrying out the murders to avenge what they said were insults to the founder of their faith. One suspect surrendered and two others were missing.

The well-coordinated early-morning attack on the editorial offices of the Charlie Hebdo targeted the editor of the bitingly satiric weekly, Stephane Charbonnier, nine colleagues and a security guard, all murdered in cold blood by masked assailants who reportedly called out the names of their victims as they were shot.

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In Kenyan: Town where students were massacred, 'it's not safe'

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KEN150410aa003.jpegGARISSA, Kenya — Tension and anxiety remained high Friday as the Kenyan military launched a campaign to flush out terrorists linked to the Garissa University College massacre.

The campaign came as Kenyan Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinett imposed a curfew on the borderlands with Somalia from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. local time.

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Terror attack: Over, 147 dead at Kenya university

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_KEN151515aa001.jpegNAIROBI, Kenya — Armed terrorists stormed a university in northern Kenya on Thursday, killing 147 people, wounding dozens and taking hostages during a 15-hour siege until four militants were killed by security forces. Christians and converts to Islam appeared to have been the targets.

More than 550 students were evacuated and 79 were injured in the standoff on the Garissa University campus, about 90 miles from the Somali border. The Somali-based Islamic terrorist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack — the al-Qaeda-linked organization's deadliest in Kenya.

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Nigeria's new: President swears to crush Boko Haram

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_NIG150411aa002.jpegABUJA, Nigeria — Former general Muhammadu Buhari vowed during his successful campaign for president that he would root out corruption rife within Nigeria's government and snuff out the insurgency by Boko Haram extremists. He'll have a chance to prove whether his record as an anti-corruption crusader and an iron-fisted military ruler will pay off.

"I voted for Buhari because I believe he has what it takes to put the country on the path of genuine growth," said Moses Auta, 29. "Based on his military background, I am sure Buhari will be able to tackle the menace of Boko Haram."

Read more at USA Today

Nigerian President: Goodluck loses re-election

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_NIG150410aa001.jpegABUJA, Nigeria — President Goodluck Jonathan conceded Tuesday to a former military general in an election decided by voter fury at government corruption and failure to combat Boko Haram militants who have killed thousands of civilians.

His defeat is the first time an incumbent has been voted out of office in Africa's most populous nation and represents its first civilian transfer of power.

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Boko Haram: Rampage may spell defeat for Nigeria president

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_NIG150410aa001.jpegABUJA, Nigeria — Buba Ibrahim's belief that President Goodluck Jonathan has failed to stem Boko Haram's rampage throughout the country could spell defeat in the presidential election here Saturday.

"We saw them come into town riding on several motorcycles and shooting in the air," said Ibrahim, 35, recalling when the Islamic extremists overran his hometown in northern Nigeria last year. "They rode into the market that was filled to capacity, shooting and killing indiscriminately."

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As Ebola: Eases, Sierra Leone still struggles to recover

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR141002aa001.jpegLOKOMASAMA, Sierra Leone — This time of year, traders usually are busy buying rice and other foodstuffs from towns in the swampy inland valleys north of Freetown, the capital of this poor country.

But the rampaging Ebola epidemic first reported exactly a year ago has snuffed out that commerce, along with the lives of 3,629 Sierra Leoneans, according to the latest World Health Organization data.

Read more at The Washington Times

Boko Haram: Haunts kids, 'I wish I could also have died'

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR150315aa001.jpegBAGA SOLA, Chad — Memories of Boko Haram's murderous spree in his Nigerian hometown haunt Tom Gowon, 9, as he sits on a patch of grass at a refugee camp, sipping steaming porridge from a plastic mug.

"I was lucky because I was not killed," said Gowon, recalling the assault on Baga, Nigeria, in early January. "But they shot and killed my father. My mother was kidnapped by the militants."

Read more at USA Today

Baby trafficking: Is a lucrative business in Kenya

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_ARA_news_civ120607aa001.jpegNAIROBI, Kenya — In this country of widespread poverty, one of the most lucrative businesses is also one of the most heartbreaking: baby trafficking.

It is common in Kayole, a slum in the capital here, for gangs to steal or buy infants from mothers who are told their child had died or who can't afford to have more children.

Read more at USA Today

Witch hunts: Increase in Tanzania as albino deaths jump

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR150227aa001.jpegTABORA, Tanzania — Many women are living in fear in this rural part of northwestern Tanzania because they are increasingly being targeted by witch hunts — literally.

This East African country is grappling with an upswing in vigilante justice as villagers attack women they believe are witches responsible for the murders of albinos, whose white skin some believe possess magical powers.

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Nigerians skeptical: Vote delay will aid Boko Haram fight

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_NIG150710aa001.jpegABUJA, Nigeria — As he shined shoes in Nyanya, a bustling neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital, Umaru Sani explained why he will vote against President Goodluck Jonathan next month.

"How can I vote for such a person who could only add to my woes?" asked Sani, 27, who fled to Abuja after the militant Islamic group Boko Haram overran his hometown of Michika in northern Nigeria six months ago.

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Joseph Kony: Warlord eludes capture in Uganda


GULU, Uganda — Not a day passes that Patricia Akello Wamoyi doesn’t relive the violence inflicted on her family and community by Joseph Kony and his militant cult, the Lord's Resistance Army, 13 years ago.

Her husband’s spirit doesn’t let her forget.

Read more at The Washington Times

Fear lingers: In Mali despite no new Ebola cases


BAMAKO, Mali — A 17-year-old boy hawking disinfectant soap on the streets of this capital city says his business has grown as Malians have taken to washing their hands throughout the day.

"It's because of Ebola," Yacouba Bamaba said.

Read more at USA Today

Ebola plays: Scrooge on Sierra Leone Christmas


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The annual Christmas parade has been canceled, shoppers are scarce, no one is going to holiday parties, and even decorations are missing.

In this tiny West African country, blame Ebola for playing Scrooge.

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Radio educates: Sierra Leone amid Ebola lockdown


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — At this time of year, 12-year-old Joseph Sheriff should be sitting in a classroom with other students in this capital city. Instead, he's at home, frantically scribbling notes and listening intently to his family's small radio.

With Sierra Leone on lockdown as the deadly Ebola virus continues to spread throughout West Africa, authorities here are keeping schools shuttered, forcing Joseph and 1.7 million children like him to stay home. 

Read more at USA Today

Voices: Ebola establishes dictatorship in Sierra Leone

SLE140411AK002FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE — Since the Ebola outbreak began in May, Sierra Leone has become an authoritarian state. It's not one dominated by politicians, religious leaders, the army or the police – it's a dictatorship by virus. Ebola has taken over everyone's thoughts, actions, just about everything.

This notion struck me as I washed my hands. Authorities have wisely set up hand-washing stations everywhere to prevent the spread of Ebola. The stations reinforce the new codes of behavior that dominate what was once an easygoing, multicultural country — avoiding handshakes, avoiding crowded spaces, avoiding family, avoiding friends.

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Liberian slum: Ebola quarantine magnifies misery

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR141104aa001.jpegMONROVIA, Liberia — Emily Abaleo, 38, sits on a narrow bench, squashed between her snoring son and two younger daughters who pass the time by elbowing one another in this city's West Point slum. She recalls better times there, before a deadly virus hit, before a quarantine to stop it and before it killed her husband.

B.E., or Before Ebola, was a time just a few short months ago before everything changed and life here in the slum became even harder.

Read more at USA Today

Boko Haram: Denies truce, says kidnapped girls married

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR141023aa001.jpegABUJA, Nigeria — The leader of Nigeria's Islamist extremist group dashed hopes for the release of 200 kidnapped girls Saturday, denying reports of a truce with the government.

In a new video message, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau says the schoolgirls have converted to Islam and married off. "The issue of the girls is long forgotten because I have long ago married them off," he says, laughing.

Read more at USA Today

Ebola: nations' neighbors enact preventions amid worry

NGA Ebola Infection ControlDAKAR, Senegal – Everywhere in this capital city, signs are on display exhorting people to wash their hands with soap. In Ivory Coast, the government has asked residents to stop their customary three-kiss hello. In Mali, travelers entering the country have their temperatures taken. In Guinea-Bissau, the Red Cross broadcasts a weekly radio program on how to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Because all four nations border the three West African countries hit by the worst Ebola epidemic in history, each is taking extraordinary measures to prevent its spread within its territory.

Read More at USA Today

Ebola's spread: To Mali sets back effort to halt virus

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_Africanwomen130318AA001.jpegBAMAKO, Mali — The first death from Ebola in this West African nation raised concerns Friday about whether the country would have more success in stemming the deadly virus than its hard-hit neighbors in the region.

The 2-year-old female Ebola patient — who died Friday — traveled from neighboring Guinea, one of the most devastated countries in the crisis. Because Mali borders that nation, health officials had warned it was particularly vulnerable to the virus' spread.

Read more at USA Today

Oscar Pistorius: Sentenced to five years in prison

b_160_0_16777215_00_images_ZAF130225AA001.jpegJOHANNESBURG — South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to prison for five years Tuesday for the 2013 killing of his girlfriend, less than half the time he could have received following his manslaughter conviction last month.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said a long sentence would show a lack of mercy toward Pistorius, known as the "Blade Runner" for racing on prosthetic legs. She suspended a separate three-year sentence for an unrelated firearms charge.

Read more at USA Today

Boko Haram: Agrees to cease-fire, may release schoolgirls

b_179_129_16777215_00_images_AFR141023aa001.jpegLAGOS, Nigeria — More than 200 missing schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram may be released as part of an immediate cease-fire agreement with Nigerian officials, the government said Friday.

"The insurgents have assured the government that all those in their captivity, including the missing Chibok girls, are well and alive," Mike Omeri, the government spokesman, said in a statement. "They have also promised to release them without attaching any condition."

Read more at USA Today

Orphans abandoned: Shunned in Africa's Ebola crisis


MONROVIA, Liberia — Ever since Frank Mulbah's mother died of Ebola in August, no one will go near him.

"I went to my relatives after my mother died, but they chased me away, even after I told them that I didn't have Ebola," said Frank, 12, who tested negative for Ebola at the hospital where his mother died.

Read more at USA Today

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