News in Africa: 02/14/2013

This week brings us tragedy, hope, and justice – not in that order. Without further ado, let’s jump in…

A plane crash in Liberia killed 11 Guinean military officers on February 11. The officers were on their way to Monrovia to join in Liberia’s celebrations for Armed Forces Day. The unexpected tragedy marked the otherwise festive occasion, and the cause of the crash has yet to be identified at the point of this article’s submission.

A French couple responsible for attempting to smuggle Chadian children out of the Darfur region, claiming that they were Sudanese orphans, were jailed in France following the court’s verdict of two years’ imprisonment. This story started back in 2007 and only now is reaching its conclusion. It’s complicated, so I recommend reading the article for the background details! Moral of the story: don’t try to smuggle “orphans” out of war-torn or disaster areas. (A similar story took place in Haiti following their earthquake.)

Emilie Lelouche and Eric Breteau in Chad, 2007
Emilie Lelouche and Eric Breteau in Chad, 2007 (photo courtesy of AFP)

Uganda’s army discovered a small stash of elephant tusks in the Central African Republic, presumably hidden by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels (LRA). If you recall, Joseph Kony (of the infamous Kony 2012 campaign) leads the LRA and is known for horrific war crimes. This discovery fuels suspicions that the LRA has been using the illegal ivory trade to acquire their arms.

This is pretty nifty, if I do say so myself: certain desert soil microbes have shown a resistance to salt and drought that, when bound with host plants, can provide much needed nitrogen. This means that they can be a key part of an anti-desertification plan to help increase harvests throughout the Middle East and North Africa where the arid climate is harsh on agriculture.

Planting trees, or afforestation, can influence local climate change by cooling more temperate regions. Recent research shows that afforestation could possibly lead to more rain which would be a great blessing to many parts of Africa that suffer the effects of both deforestation and drought.

Nigeria’s Kebbi Primary Health Care Development Agency announced Friday that one million children have been immunized against polio and other killer diseases. This is wonderful news!

Premature babies born at Kenyatta General Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya have been treated by a method called Kangaroo Care, which involves swaddling babies skin to skin with their mothers when incubators are not available. They have found that babies treated by Kangaroo Care usually gain weight faster than those in incubators. (See video below for more details.)

By Dormouse

Bilingual (and a half) white girl who spent thirteen of her formative years in Africa. She is a writer, mentor, coffee drinker, wife, cat owner, language lover, photography dabbler, aspiring speaker, and a lifetime student. She keeps her writing going over at

7 replies on “News in Africa: 02/14/2013”

I remember the similar story to the Chadian child smuggling story with the Haitian children. It was big news in my town because we have a very large Haitian community and I think the “charity” and couple arrested may have been based in Florida; however, I’d have to re-read the news to be sure.

Also, woo hoo for polio vaccinations!

And Oscar Pistorius (the Paralympic and Olympic sprinter) has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp: she was shot four times last night in his home.

(Kangaroo Care isn’t new – it should probably be the default for most newborns. It’s great that it’s getting more evidence support though.,,

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