The Africa Report: 11 April

EWN's Africa Correspondent, Jean-Jacques Cornish, reports on the day's top African news

Madonna. Picture: AFP

VICTIMS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT ZONES ARE YOUNGER THAN 17

On Wednesday, UK-based children's charity, Save the Children, issued a report called Unspeakable Crimes against Children that collected information from conflicts in places such as Colombia, Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the last decade.

Save the Children, is an internationally active non-governmental organisation that promotes children's rights, provides relief and helps support children in developing countries.

THE SHOCKING STATISTICS

In post-conflict Liberia, a staggering 83% of gender-based violence victims were under the age of 17 during the period from 2011 to 2012.

In 2008 in the DRC, 16 000 cases of sexual violence against women and children were reported, with nearly 65% of cases involving adolescent girls.

Rape as a weapon of war remains a horrific reality in the DRC.

"In Sierra-Leone, 70% of the attacks seen by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) these attacks were on girls under 18 and more than 20% of those girls were under 11," states Unspeakable Crimes against Children.

UNPROTECTED, UNDER-REPORTED, UNDERFUNDED

The report illustrates that whilst many of the perpetrators of sexual violence against children are indeed armed actors from non-state armed groups, government armed forces, as well as "a significant proportion" of civilians, are equally to blame thus constantly leaving children in danger in even their homes and communities.

Save the Children also reported that programmes to fight sexual attacks on children in conflict zones are chronically underfunded, thus, the actual extent of sexual violence against children remains unknown.

It is for this reason that the issue has been so aptly raised, having anticipated the meeting of foreign ministers in London for the G8 Summit.

Reports suggest that on Wednesday, the attending foreign ministers did indeed discuss combating the use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war.

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MALAWIAN GOVT ACCUSES MADONNA OF BULLYING

The 54-year-old international superstar has been labelled a bully by the Malawian government after her complaints about state officials and the treatment she has had, has been referred to as bullying.

Madonna has of course done a lot of good work in Malawi, the country from which she adopted two children.

She spoke about financing an academy which she has not yet done, but she has put more than $500,000 into building school classrooms.

A lot of children who attending school under branches are now in proper classrooms.

However, Malawians have bridled this and said she is not that special, she should go home and appear on stage because that is her work.

The has also removed her and her entourage's VIP status which means she has to stand in line with everybody else when exiting the country.

Since she has done a lot of good work, the Malawian government should have been a bit more circumspect.

If they lose the publicity she brought and the money she invested, they would have to have paid for it themselves.