Boko Haram's Latest Attacks Target Boys

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DORON, BAGA, Nigeria -- Sunday, Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped dozens of boys from the Nigerian village of Doron Baga. During the raid on the village, suspected Boko Haram dressed in police and military uniforms burned several houses and terrorized citizens while forcing boys and men into awaiting trucks. When the terror ended, 97 people were unaccounted for.

Most were men and boys, although 20 women were also included in the missing.

Security forces from neighboring Chad were able to intercept the group, freeing some of the abducted. However, many were forced onto speed boats in Lake Chad, which is bordered by Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

During the initial attack, witnesses described confusion and sporadic shooting amongst yells of "Allah Akbar" or "God is greatest." Those that could fled to the city of Maiduguri, leaving their village and their boys almost 100 miles behind them. Other refugees through either choice or lack of transportation stayed closer to what was once home.

The attacks came four months after the abduction of 300 schoolgirls in the village of Chibok. In the recent gender-based attacks, women, girls, and the very young were mostly spared. The Boko Haram first came for brides and sex slaves, then came for fighters.

Boko Haram attacks have increased over the past year, stretching the Nigerian police force to its limit and proving that the terrorist group is not limited to only one area of the country.

Follow Sarah on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Contributing Journalist: @SJJakubowski

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The Lost Children of FARC Guerrilla Fighters

columbia female farc fighter on the march, photo by reuters courtesy of trustorg

columbia female farc fighter on the march, photo by reuters courtesy of trustorg

BOGOTA, Colombia — On the heels of a grandmother's reunion with her missing grandson after his kidnapping by the Argentinian army 36 years ago, a wider secret is beginning to unravel. Government and guerrilla forces alike in South America have, for decades, stolen infants from their soldier mothers on account of what they consider "insubordination".

Estela Carlotto had been searching tirelessly for her grandson, Guido, who went missing two months after his birth in 1978. Estela's daughter and Guido's mother, Laura, was a guerrilla fighter for the Argentine group known as "Montoneros."

According to CNN, after Laura was already two-and-a-half months pregnant when she was arrested by government forces in 1977. She then gave birth to her son Guido in a military hospital and executed sometime thereafter. Until now, Guido's whereabouts were unknown.

His grandmother, Estela, started the activist group called "Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayoor", known as simply the "Abuelas". Estela and the Abuelas carry out searches to find their missing grandchildren that had been kidnapped by the government from their rebel parents in Argentina's Dirty War. This month the Abuelas have reunited Estela and the man proven to be her missing grandson. Guido Montoya Carlotto is Ignacio Hurban, who is now 36-years-old and a music teacher in Olavarria, Argentina.

There is also a search for stolen children in Colombia where the guerilla armies take infants from their mothers as they consider is a crime for a guerilla to become pregnant, according to BBC News. Many of these women that are in the guerilla Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, the FARC, are in it forcedly.

BBC News interviewed Teresa, a woman who demobilized from the FARC five years ago. They killed her mother and forced her to join their army at 16-years-old. She soon became pregnant. She explained to BBC News, "I was 16 years old, they forced me to. How would I confront the FARC all by myself to prevent them from taking my daughter if not even a whole army is able to [defeat them]?"

Teresa pleads to have her daughter back saying, "From the bottom of my heart, I beg you to put yourselves in my place. I did not give up my daughter. They took her from me." She was told by an official, according the BBC News that she cannot get her daughter back "because what kind of example can I be to her with my subversive thinking".

Another girl profiled by BBC News was merely 13-years-old when forced into the FARC. She became pregnant at seventeen. She knew that FARC would make her get an unwanted abortion, so she hid her pregnancy for seven months. BBC News says that Maria was allowed to give birth out of fear that a late-pregnancy abortion would kill her. However, she was forced to give her baby to a local family that she knew to raise as their own. She recalled the moment she handed off her infant with her partner saying, "I waited for him at a distance, I couldn't go there. I cried for four days. It was very difficult. But taking the baby and deserting wasn't an option."

While many of the stolen children were supposedly adopted by local families, there are reports of the children being killed. Still, many of these mothers from Argentina to Colombia are committed to finding their lost children in the hopes of one day reuniting with them.

Contributing Journalist: @allysoncwright

Meet Our Journalists

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Ayanna Profile PicAyanna Nahmias is the Editor-in-Chief. She is passionate about international affairs, geopolitics, and human rights and writes articles with an emphasis on women's rights and child advocacy. She is working on her first novel and was interviewed about growing up in Africa as the daughter of a radical, Islamist expatriate on Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Click to hear interview.

Twitter: @AyannaNahmias

Michael Ransom, Contributing EditorMichael Ransom is a Contributing Editor. He is a recent graduate of The College of William + Mary, where he studied English. Michael enjoys exploring new cultures and learning languages. In the future, he hopes to merge his love for international travel with his writing career. His interests include intercultural exchange, environmental justice, criminal justice topics and all forms of equality.

Twitter: @Mandrewranson

Sarah Joanne JakubowskiSarah Joanne Jakubowski is our Africa Correspondent. Currently, living and working in Accra, Ghana, she reports directly from the Continent.Upon her return, she will resume her studies in English, Philosophy and Anthropology at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Sarah is dedicated to combining these interests to make world issues and scientific findings more accessible to the public. She is passionate about human rights issues, global health issues, and art. After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in international journalism.

Twitter: @SJJakubowski

Oliva ElswickOlivia Elswick is a Contributing Journalist and Asia Correspondent. Most recently she worked in India at a rehabilitation center for former child laborers. She is currently employed in Yanji, China, on the border of North Korea where she has been reporting on events in the region.She is passionate about art, literature, traveling, and social justice. A recent graduate of Clemson University in South Carolina, she studied Writing & Publication Studies, and Communications.

Twitter: @OCElswick

Vineeta Tiwari, NCR JournalistVineeta Tiwari is our Middle East Correspondent. She is Indian by nationality but travels and works in the Middle East. She is a professional writer and blogger with a passion for issues facing emerging economies and employment markets. She is a computer science graduate who chose to become a writer because of her interest in global economic initiatives and world affairs.

Her area of expertise focuses on immigration challenges facing many countries, especially in the Gulf region. Vineeta writes about the Middle East and other Gulf countries to inform and expose readers to the fact that these countries have become major players in social and economic development.

Twitter: @vinita1204

Allyson CartwrightAllyson Cartwright is our Contributing Journalist. She is a third-year student at the University of Virginia where she is studying English with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. She is passionate about human rights issues, specifically surrounding women's rights in the Middle East. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a career in journalism with a focus on the Middle East region.

Twitter: @allysoncwright

Chrycka HarperChrycka Harper is our Poet & Social Commentator. She is currently living and studying in South Africa where she will report on events occurring on the Continent, and continue to provide social commentary through poetry and prose.Chrycka Harper was born and raised in Wichita, KS, and is a Psychology Bachelor of Science candidate attending Howard University. Her interests include writing about significant personal issues and observations through poetry and prose, reading, eating/cooking, learning more about the unknown. After undergrad, she plans to pursue a research career in the Neuropsychology.

Twitter: @Chrycka_Harper

Jessamy NicholsJessamy Nichols is our Africa Correspondent and a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she graduated with majors in Global Studies and Political Science, and a minor in African Studies.She has traveled throughout East Africa the international affairs realm after recently moving to Washington, DC. Her interests include global human rights issues, international conflict resolution, African politics, regional instability, and multilateral institution behavior.

Twitter: @JessamyNichols

Ty ButlerTy Butler is the Sr. Correspondent on International Development and Conflict. He possesses a Master’s in International Affairs from Pennsylvania State University’s School of International Affairs.

Ty has previously worked with the non-profit Ag2Africa as a technical editor and as an economic policy staff intern with the US Dept. of State, Bureau of African Affairs. Ty’s interests include gender studies, conflict & terrorism, and economic development with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Twitter: @TyWButler

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In Southern India Child Laborers are Given Second Chance at Childhood

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ASIA - Tens of millions of Indian children under the age of 14 are working instead of going to school. It is estimated that 12.6 million children in India are involved in hazardous work such as coal mining, firework manufacturing, and the diamond and silk industries. With the health hazards and physical danger the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said these jobs are unsuitable for anyone under 18.

In the Bangalore region of India the Bangalore Rural Educational and Development Society (BREADS) is working to remedy the staggering amount of child laborers.

BREADS is taking the next step to helping former child laborers and rescued runaways have their childhoods back, with projects such as a Child Help Line, rescue centers in railroad stations, and more than a dozen schools in the area to rehabilitate street children before they are sent to the public school system. They have also established industrial and vocational training centers, orphanages, and shelters to assist people in all walks of life.

These children have resumes longer than most adults—construction worker, servant, brick maker, garment tailor, trash collector, factory worker—the list goes on and on. Their pasts are marked with abuse, addiction, slavery, and abandonment. They are forced into working by their families or for survival after they have been orphaned or abandoned.

Susan Bissell, head of global child protection for UNICEF stated “We understand that many children work to support their families. However, when children are forced into the most dangerous forms of labor, when they then miss school, when they are at risk and their health and well-being are impaired, this is unacceptable.”

Shivu, a boy at a BREADS rehabilitation center in Davangere, was abandoned by his parents at a train station when he was 4. He was taken from the train station by a couple who forced him into domestic labor, not allowing him to go to school. His arm was tattooed with the couple’s address so he could be returned in the event he escaped. After a particularly gruesome night of physical abuse he managed to escape, and with the help of an elderly man, was brought to a BREADS center, where he is now going to school for the first time in his 13 years.

Young girls in the Bangalore area are especially in need of the protection offered by BREADS. Thousands of girls in this area alone are prone to abuse, exploitation, trafficking, child marriage, and temple prostitution, and educating girls is oftentimes given lower priority. Providing assistance to these girls not only removes them from the viscous cycle, it changes the community and helps contribute to a child labor free society in the villages in the Bangalore area.

Matt Pirrall, a humanitarian photographer currently working for BREADS said "Education is the single most important tool to combat the lies that lead to modern day slavery. I can only hope for greater awareness of their plight, to one day bring them the justice that they deserve. With the help of BREADS and the power of education, these children are now happy, healthy, and eager to learn. It is incredible to see the transformation that had taken place in their lives. "

This past year, Germany has stepped in to lend support to these children through BREADS. During German President Joachim Gauck’s visit to India, his wife, Daniela Schadt visited BOSCO Mane school in Bangalore to interact with rescued runaways and met with Railway officials and members of the rescue team. In April the German Foreign Ministry’s Director General for Asian and Pacific Affairs, Ambassador Peter Prugel, met with staff of BREADS to review child safety net strategies and to get informed with the harsh realities of life on the street.

BREADS is also supported by partners in the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, and the United States.

At the BREADS rehabilitation centers, little hands once sore from days full of housework now lovingly hold the hands of new brothers and sisters. Little feet once raw from working in the fields barefooted now race from class to class. Little bellies all too familiar with going without food are now filled with unending laughter. These children are given more than just food, shelter, and an education—they’re given safety, security, and the keys to a renewed childhood and a new life.

Follow Olivia on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Asia Correspondent: @OCElswick

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Cannibalism, Child Mutilations in Central African Republic

Central african child peers through wall, photo by pierre holtz

Central african child peers through wall, photo by pierre holtz

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, Africa -- Violence among Christian and Muslim militias in the Central African Republic (CAR) remains alarmingly high.

Despite intervention efforts, death and displacement continue. In this troubled environment, there have been reports of cannibalism as well as revenge-killings targeting children.

Ouandja “Mad Dog” Magloire, a Christian, has admitted to beating and stabbing a Muslim man before dousing him with petrol, setting him on fire, and eating parts of his body.

Magloire claims revenge as his motive, saying that Muslims had killed his pregnant wife, his sister-in-law and her baby.

The victim of cannibalism, who was attacked in broad daylight by Magloire and approximately 20 other men, was not personally connected to Magloire’s losses.

Other revenge crimes involve children who are mutilated or beheaded. Over 130 children have been killed or maimed since January, usually in machete or knife attacks. These are clearly crimes against humanity, but there is no justice system currently stable enough to hold anyone responsible for their actions.

Not only are children preyed upon in retaliation attacks, they are also often recruited into armed groups. During the evacuation and displacement of over 500,000 individuals, already-vulnerable children are more likely to be unattended and harder to protect.

Hope may come in the form of Catherine Samba-Panza. She was elected in January to serve a one-year term of interim president while the CAR, hopefully, gains stability. She has no connection to either Muslim or Christian groups and urges both sides to lay down their arms. So far, nobody seems to be listening.

Kim Jong-un's North Korea Revealed on Hidden Camera

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Jessamy Nichols and Ayanna NahmiasLast Modified: 01:56 a.m. DST, 28 January 2014

Starving North Korean Children, 1997, Photo by Justin Kilcullen (Cropped)

PYONGYANG, North Korea - Unfortunately not all countries in today’s world govern on a moral foundation of democracy and human rights. However, many fall into the improving category, because in recent decades many governments have moved towards elections, freedom of the press and media, and openness to adopting other global cultural and political norms.

And then there’s the farthest end of the spectrum where the most egregious offenders remain. Countries like Syria, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Myanmar, Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Nigeria, etc. (Source: Maplecroft).

Though life under these regimes is brutal and the citizenry victimized, in North Korea, also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the human rights abuses are on steroids. In the DPRK, there is no pretense toward basic human rights. To ensure complete dictatorial control, the borders are almost completely shut off to global interaction, media is censored, and propaganda is par for the course. Couple this with the possession of nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and you have one of the world’s biggest threats to international peace wrapped up in one small country.

In Middle Ages fashion, Kim Jong-un rules with an iron fist that dictates how citizens speak, express themselves and live their lives. Carrying on the legacy of his father, Kim Jong-il, the current Kim continues to govern the country using public executions, intimidation, political prisoner camps, military threats, and ludicrous laws. Leaving the country without permission is even illegal, so citizens are forced to agree with Kim politically, economically and so forth because dissent routinely results in public executions. Even Kim's uncle, Jang Song-taek, was recently executed, purportedly because of his push for economic reforms.

This dismal and desolate state of affairs inside North Korea provides us with many sad and discouraging mental images, but what’s worse is that the citizens of North Korea cannot have their voices or stories heard because of North Korea’s paranoiac laws governing access to citizenry, as well as travel in and out of the country.

Luckily in the past few months, director James Jones worked with a Japanese journalist, Jiro Ishimaru, to use an underground network of North Korean reporters to gain a glimpse of the “real” North Korea. The insight and findings were made into a film entitled Secret State of North Korea, released earlier this month. The film gives voice to the growing skepticism and disapproval inside North Korea, where citizens are hungry for foreign movies and music and are eager for the day Kim is out of power.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x19stdf_secret-state-of-north-korea_shortfilms

At this point, Kim’s method of rule continues to get more bizarre and far-fetched, as the state-controlled media boasts lies about landing people on the moon and Kim hosts parties with Dennis Rodman. Although, the potentially unbalanced retired basketball player, Rodman, has been to DPRK and is friendly with Kim, this by no mean implies that the country or its dictatorship is on the verge of embracing freedom or equality for its populace or a rational approach to international diplomacy.

Throughout history, nations and governments fall from within. When dictators start "partying" with former American basketball players, can the end be far behind? This type of hubris and excess, mixed with an increasingly frustrated population is a recipe for political pressure, friction, and eventual regime change.

It is widely accepted fact that a nuclear armed DPRK would have disastrous geopolitical consequences and thus all means public and private, have been brought to bear to prevent their success in this area. But the true defeat will come through the hands of the proletariat, and for them to be successful, the international community needs to continue to assert more pressure.

In this day and age of hackers, nothing is more porous than the Internet, and information is key, and knowledge is power. With the slightest bit of prodding, and continued calls for North Korea reform, the population could gain the impetuous they need to force Kim into improvements. Dictatorships are not sustainable, so let’s hope we see the end of North Korea’s sooner rather than later.

Follow Jessamy on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report Africa Correspondent: @JessamyNichols

Girls Escape 10-Year Captivity and Rape by Castro

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Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 01:28 a.m. EDT, 09 May 2013

Amanda Berry, Ohio Kidnap Victim, Pictured with Mother and Daughter, Photo Courtesy of WOIO TV

CLEVELAND, Ohio - Raped, starved, beaten, and kept in chains for over 10-years, three young women were rescued on Monday thanks to the bravery of one of the victims, Amanda Berry, and the heroic efforts of a neighbor, Charles Ramsey.

Ariel Castro, 52, who is of Puerto Rican descent, is a veteran school bus driver fired from his job last fall. He was formally charged on Wednesday with kidnapping and raping the women, who were rescued from his house on the evening of 06 May 2013, shortly before his arrest according to Reuters.

Castro and his kidnapped victims, Michelle Knight, then 21, Amanda Berry, then 16, and Gina DeJesus, then 14, along with Berry's 6-year-old daughter who was born in captivity, all lived in a run down rambler which Castro owned and was located on Seymour Avenue in the predominantly Latino neighborhood in Cleveland.

Although reports stated that his two brothers, who were initially arrested as suspects in the case, were somehow complicit in the decade long imprisonment of the girls, they were subsequently released when police said investigators had determined they had no knowledge of the abductions or captivity of the women.

Castro is accused of kidnapping the three girls during separate incidents, and in the case of DeJesus, he is accused of abducting her while she was walking home from school on April 2, 2004. Once he got his victims home, it is surmised that he restrained each of the girls in the basement using ropes and chains.

Although neighbors and fellow musicians who used to hang out at Castro's house expressed surprise at his arrest, records show that he was no stranger to violence against women.

In 2005, according to court filings, he was accused of beating his former wife, Grimilda 'Nilda' Figueroa, so badly that he knocked out a tooth, dislocated her shoulder, and triggered a blood clot in her brain.

After years of abuse by him she passed away last April, an early death which her family attributes to Castro. The documents also claim that he 'frequently abducts his daughters and keeps them from mother' - although it is not certain whether this occurred before or after he allegedly snatched these three victims from the streets.

There were two heroes in this daring rescue, Amanda Berry and Charles Ramsey, a conscientious neighbor who responded to the screams for help coming from inside Castro's house.

In several interviews, Ramsey said that he was "eating a McDonald’s meal when the woman across the street began kicking at the door and screaming for help, whereupon he went across the street and helped kick in the aluminum screen door through which Berry and her daughter escaped."

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XRzsNbskTA]

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