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The Africa Report: 13 June

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

The LRA is, again, part of the UN's blacklist for recruitment of child soldiers. Picture: Irin News.

UN CHILD SOLDIER LIST EXPANDS

Leila Zerrougui, the United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for children and armed conflict, has released the annual blacklist of child soldier recruiters with the spotlight on the conflict in Syria and on new addition, Mali.

The annual report presents information about the serious violations committed in 22 countries.

The list of persistent perpetrators - those who have been on the annual list for at least five years - includes the Taliban Forces in Afghanistan, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the Central African region, Al Shabaab in Somalia, government forces in Sudan and Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in South Sudan.

Those de-listed parties, meaning they have fulfilled or signed action plans in line with UN Security Council resolutions, include Sudan's Justice and Equality Movement, the Democratic Republic of Congo's Forces armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), and Somalia's Somali National Armed Forces.

Chadian authorities have committed to enforcing an action plan to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers within their borders.

The Chadian National Army has been blacklisted since 2009.

Mali has been added to the blacklist for the first time with the blame falling on the Tuareg rebels (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad), the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), and Ansar Dine and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

In the Report of the Secretary General, the deterioration of state security in Mali is recognised as a factor for the large number of "grave violations against children by various armed groups".

Many of the children enlisted are victims of their parents' misconception, having enrolled their children to schools promising Koranic education but resulting in forced recruitment.

The conflict in Syria, noted Zerrougui, was worst felt by children, with an alarming increase of the association of children and armed groups being reported. Reports of sexual violence being used by State forces against young boys alleged to have information on the opposition have also been reported.

MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH WAS A MOZAMBICAN

In September 2012, a young man fell to his death in the suburban Portman Avenue in west London.

No one reported him missing.

He had no form of identification on his person.

His head and face were severely and horrendously injured.

The only evidence authorities had were that he had fallen from a plane flying above and the Botswana and Angolan money found on him.

Finally, on Tuesday, the young man was identified as Mozambican, Jose Matada.

Scotland Yard detectives had analysed the Sim card found in Matada's pair of jeans, helping them to identify him through phone numbers.

A former employer, Jessica Hump, revealed in an interview that Matada was employed by her as a gardener in Cape Town.

He had left his home country to make a better life for himself.

The desperation to get of Mozambique was what led to his death: Matada had fallen about 600 metres from the undercarriage of a plane and a British Civil Aviation Authority spokesman argued that it was impossible for a stowaway to survive a long-haul flight claiming they would either be crushed by the wheels after take-off, freeze to death or fall to their death.

KENYA'S "MPIGS"

In yet another protest in Kenya, demonstrators doused themselves in animal blood outside of the Kenyan parliament to protest against wage increase for members of parliament.

Protestors bearing banners with the slogan "MPigs" and "Help the needy, not the greedy" were justifiably angry.

Although Kenyan MPs have - after much hesitation - agreed to take a salary cut from $120 000 to $75 000 a year, this is a far cry from President Uhuru Kenyatta's plea for an annual salary of $10 000.

In contrast, the average Kenyan citizen earns $1 800 annually.

Adding fuel to the protestors' fire was a $58 000 car allowance for MPs as well as hefty pension payments.

Despite the pay cut, the 416 Kenyan MPs remain amongst the best paid parliamentarians in the world, even receiving allowance for attending parliamentary sessions.

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