Five Africa stories you probably missed

From Bashir's Sudan to the civil strife in South Sudan to the streets of Congo: A few choice bits of recent news that fell under the radar. 

By , Guest blogger

A version of this post appeared in Enough Said. The views expressed are the author's own. 

At the Enough Project we often find interesting articles and feature stories in our favorite publications and on our favorite websites. We wanted to share some with you as part of our effort to keep you up to date on what you need to know in the world of anti-genocide and crimes against humanity work.

Some 18 members of the main rebel group fighting Sudan’s president Omar Hassan al-Bashir were sentenced to death in a Sudan court on March 13. Malik Agar, former governor of Sudan’s southern Blue Nile state, and Yassir Aman, the secretary general, of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), and 16 others were sentenced for murder and for staging a war against the state.

Recommended: Think you know Africa? Take our geography quiz.

The conviction of the SPLM-N leaders comes weeks after the African Union adjourned talks between the Sudanese government and the rebel group which ended in a deadlock.

In Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, street children are exposed to the regular violence and abuse that takes place in the city. War Child UK is a humanitarian organization that helps children affected by war ensuring that children's voices are heard and not stifled by the ongoing conflicts within their country.

The rights group has teamed up with Congolese rapper Didjak Munya to give children the opportunity to tell their stories through music. Munya and War Child UK have hosted rap battles and joined youth in the recording studio where the children use hip hop as a tool to spread their messages.

In South Sudan, the recent political crisis has caused tensions to rise high between the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups. The ties between cattle and the ongoing conflict are confirmed as more herders are purchasing guns in fear of conflicts reaching their homes. The average street value of a single cow is more than $600, fueling local clashes over cattle. On Feb. 7, a Nuer cattle keeper was at home with his cows in the Dhiak village when scores of armed men attacked. Officials believe the attackers were Dinkas from Lakes state. The attackers took 260 cows and left 10 people dead, including three women and two children. According to the governor’s adviser for peace and reconciliation, Ezekiel Thiang, cattle theft is one of the main causes of conflict in Lakes state.

On the Ground in Congo’s Rebellion, a photo essay from Politico Magazine, provides a look into the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the violence that has ensued the country since the M23 rebel group mutinied against the government in April 2012.

In September 2012, a Human Rights Watch report accused the M23 of “widespread war crimes, including summary executions, rapes, and forced recruitment.” These acts of violence and human rights violations led to the displacement of more than 2 million Congolese. Now the Congo, Africa’s second largest country, is struggling to obtain peace and stability from a rebellion responsible for the deaths of millions of its people.

Lauren Wolfe, an award-winning journalist, traveled with Nobel Women’s Initiative to Congo to meet with survivors of sexualized violence and the groups working to help them. Women who are raped in Congo often have nowhere to turn for help as the majority of men who victimize women go unpunished, and the stigmatization of rape leaves some women not wanting to speak out against their perpetrators. 

Wolfe provides the stories of three women of varying ages who share their experiences of rape and how it has impacted their lives. 

“When I remember what happened, it makes me angry,” she says. “Every time it comes back to me, I remember how I was raped and my husband had left me alone to struggle with caring for my children.”

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Africa bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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