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South Sudan activists fight child marriage where girls are sold for cows

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A group of South Sudanese activists have come together to fight against an obnoxious practice where young girls are auctioned off into marriage in exchange for cows, especially in some rural communities.

According to Jackline Nasiwa, the Executive Director of the Center of Inclusive Governance, Peace and Justice, the practice had robbed many young girls of a future.

“The price of a daughter, determined in negotiations between her father and would-be husband, is typically 50 to 100 cows, each worth up to $1,000.

“A girl viewed as beautiful, fertile and of high social rank can bring as many as 200 cows. They sell their daughters so that they get something to survive. The younger the girl marries, the more the family gets cattle in return,” Nasiwa said.

“Poor families in South Sudan see laws against child marriage as barring them from profiting from thrir daughters and threatening their very survival, with only about 10% of girls finishing primary school because of factors including conflict and cultural beliefs.

“Some families worry that sending girls to school exposes them to dangers such as sexual assault that could lower their value when it comes time to look for marriage offers,” Nasiwa added.

Another girls’ right activist, Nyanachiek Madit, herself a survivor of the wife-for-cow practice, said she fought back when her father wanted to sell her off.

The 21-year-old Nyanachiek said she refused to be traded when her father said she would be married to a man about 50-years-old when she was only 17, because her family couldn’t afford to send her to school.

“I didn’t accept to get married because I am disabled and my education will be my ‘leg’ later on,” said Nyanachiek who was born with a congenital disorder.

She said she was convinced that schooling would give her a better life, so she stood up to her family and dared them to beat or even kill her.

Nyanachiek’s plight came to the attention of ChildBride Solidarity, which offers scholarships to girls whose parents abandon them after they oppose early marriage. With the group’s assistance, Nyanachiek now studies in South Sudan’s capital and is a very vocal voice against the practice.

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UN peacekeeping mission to resume operations in Mali month after suspension

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Barely a month after the Malian junta suspended operations of UN peacekeeping troops on its soil, a spokesperson of the mission has confirmed that mission will resume again on Monday.

Malian authorities in a statement in July suspended all rotations of the military and police contingents of the United Nations Mission in Mali (UNMIS). The suspension was in continuation of its position of severing foreign relations, the suspension includes UN mission that are already scheduled.

The spokesperson said the mission and Malian authorities had agreed on a streamlined rotation procedure and that the mission’s request to resume rotations on Monday had been accepted.

Mali’s foreign ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.

Relations between Mali and troop-contributing countries remain strained. On Friday, Germany said it was suspending its military reconnaissance mission, which provides intelligence to MINUSMA, after Malian authorities withheld a flight clearance

Mali under the current Junta of Colonel Goita has been on a thread of breaking diplomatic relations with allies.

It started by breaking defense alliance with the French, the junta also quit the anti-jihadist force, G-5 force but has enjoyed good relationship with Russia.

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15 African migrants found dead in the Libyan-Sudan border desert

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At least 15 African migrants were found dead on Saturday in the desert on the Libyan borders with Sudan, with authorities saying the tragedy involved migrants seeking a better life in Europe while perilous journeys through the deserts and the Mediterranean Sea.

The discovery of the victims was made by the Libyan Department for Combating Irregular Migration, in the southeastern city of Kufra, which said the migrants were on their way from Sudan to Libya when their vehicle broke down due to lack of fuel.

The agency, in a statement, said nine other migrants survived while two remain missing in the desert.

It added that there were women and children among the migrants, but did not elaborate on how many they were.

It also did not reveal causes of the migrants’ death, but said they did not have enough food and water.

“All the migrants were Sudanese, from a country in turmoil for years. The migrants likely attempted to reach western Libya in efforts to board trafficking boats to Europe,” the department said on its Facebook page.

In June, the Libya authorities had also discovered bodies of 20 migrants in the sprawling Kufra desert who they said died of thirst after their vehicle broke down close to the border with Chad.

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