|Africa News Digest
Slavery in Africa Increasing: Slave Raids Reappear
Nineteenth-Century-style slave raids have returned to East Africa. In the Ituri District of eastern DR Congo (next to Lake Albert), the Lendu are torching Hema villages before dawn, then capturing the able-bodied as they flee, and killing those not fit to work as slaves on farms and in mines. The modus operandi is identical to that of the 19th-Century slavers.
The illegal Rwandan and Ugandan mining enterprises in Congo have been using slaves for some time. But the London Daily Telegraph stated Sept. 3, "until January, slave raids were unheard of," implying an increase in scale and organization.
Slavery in Africa Increasing: Kenya an 'Emerging Center'
Addressing a Nairobi workshop in mid-August on human trafficking in East Africa, Kenyan Labor Minister Newton Kulundu said that Kenya was "an emerging center for human trafficking, as a country of origin, transit, and destination," according to The Standard (Nairobi), Aug. 18.
Monrovia Living Standard: Sex in Exchange for School Fees
The abysmal living standard in Monrovia, capital of Liberia, is such that 60 to 80% of secondary schoolgirls are selling themselves to pay their school fees, officials of the Save the Children Federation (UK) claimed Sept. 5, when they released "State of the World's Mothers 2005The Power and Promise of Girls' Education." (The report itself does not include this claim.) An article in the Times of London Sept. 4 cited the horror story of an 18-year-old who started selling sex at age 12 and now averages 5-6 sexual encounters a day, but after paying her school fees, doesn't always have enough money to buy food.
Assassination in South Africa Likely To Fuel Split in ANC
In South Africa, the assassination of a wealthy funder of the left wing of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) is likely to accelerate the growing split in the party. Prominent gold-mining magnate Brett Kebble was hit by five bullets while driving at night in a Johannesburg suburb Sept. 27.
According to the London Independent Sept. 29, Kebble "reportedly was among the key benefactors" of former Vice President Jacob Zuma, recently sacked by President Thabo Mbeki because of corruption charges. Zuma has become the hero of the ANC left. Kebble "had bankrolled the ANC's powerful Youth League, which is fighting a running public battle with Mr. Mbeki over Mr. Zuma's sacking and other policy differences," the Independent adds.
Tony Leon, leader of the British-owned opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, is quoted in an I-Net Bridge story Sept. 28: Kebble was "very political.... I believe there will be a [political] dimension and dynamic which will flow from this event. But perhaps it is too early to comment on that."
It would be surprising if the left did not blame the murder on Mbeki's government. The killing may have been an Anglo-American intervention for the purpose of splitting the party. Anglo-American spokesmen have claimed it is "undemocratic" for a ruling party to have such a large majority.
Nigerian Gangster Suspends Threat To Blow Up Oil Platforms
The threat to blow up oil producing facilities in the Niger Deltafrom Nigerian gangster Mujahid Dokubo Asari's organizationreceded on Sept. 23. Asari first issued the threat Sept. 15, when the governor of a Delta state, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa state, was arrested in London for money laundering. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo hailed the arrest as part of his anti-corruption campaign. On Sept. 23, Asari ordered his people to back off, so they would not put his own case in jeopardy. He was arrested Sept. 20 for treason for promoting separatism, but the heart of the matter is the ongoing theft of 10% or more of Nigeria's oil output by organized crime rings, one or more of which are Asari'sand Alamieyeseigha'spatrons.