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Pressure Grows In Liberia Over US Charity In ‘School Rape’ Storm

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Pressure Grows In Liberia Over US Charity In 'School Rape' Storm

Liberian Vice President Jewel Taylor on Tuesday lent her voice to demands for a probe into a US educational charity after girls were raped at a school supposed to save them from a life of sexual exploitation.

Last week, the charity More Than Me admitted to major failings and deeply apologised after the scale of the abuse came to light.

“I vehemently denounce this act of exploiting our young girls and putting an organisation’s interest before the lives of our children,” said Taylor.

“I will never condone this act from anyone, be it foreign or domestic. Please allow us to do due diligence.”

Last week, the US investigative site ProPublica described how girls were systematically raped at the More Than Me Academy in Liberia’s capital Monrovia.

The charity had founded the school specifically to empower and educate local girls to save them from prostitution and sexual coercion.

The rapes – some of them perpetrated against children as young as 10 – were carried out by the charity’s co-founder, Macintosh Johnson, who later died of AIDS, ProPublica said in a piece co-published with Time.

The assaults took place at a school at West Point, a notorious slum in Monrovia.

It opened in 2013 to a blaze of publicity, becoming the first of 18 schools that More Than Me opened in the impoverished West African state.

ProPublica described Johnson as a “charming hustler” who insinuated himself with Katie Meyler, an evangelical Christian who created the charity.

She eventually raised more than $8m in funding, nearly $600 000 of which came from the US government, and gained the support of Liberia’s then president and Nobel Peace Laureate, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

 ‘Horrific reminder’ 

Taylor said ProPublica’s investigation was a “horrific reminder of what continues to happen to the most vulnerable in our society, our young girls.”

“First and foremost, we must give the appropriate attention to the girls and victims at the institution. Medical and psychological support must be rendered to them and their families,” she said.

“Second, my office will engage all parties involved to ensure that the current children under the care of the institution are safe and protected.”

After some of the girls came forward to reveal what was happening, Johnson was suspended by the school and arrested.

He was facing trial when he died in 2016 from an illness that ProPublica said was AIDS, stoking fears that he had infected his victims with HIV.

On Friday, More Than Me said it was “profoundly, deeply sorry” and would strengthen efforts to prevent any recurrence.

“To all the girls who were raped by Macintosh Johnson in 2014 and before: we failed you,” it said.

Separately, the information ministry late Monday said the government was reviewing the ProPublica report.

“We are currently looking into it after which we will inform the Liberian people about our official position,” Deputy Information Minister Eugene Fahngon was quoted as saying by the Liberia News Agency.

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Kenya Committed To Improving Aviation Infrastructure

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Kenya Committed To Improving Aviation Infrastructure

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta says the government is committed to improving the country’s civil aviation infrastructure.  He credited the industry with enhancing the country’s economy and national development.

He said at the eleventh forum of the international civil aviation organization air services negotiation meeting in Nairobi that the aviation industry contributes four tenths of a percent to the country’s gdp.  He also said the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi provides seventeen thousand direct and more than half a million indirect jobs.

Kenyatta said about eight in ten tourists visiting Kenya use air transport.

He said these are some of the reasons his government is committed to investing in aviation infrastructure to help the industry play its critical role in the economy.

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2 Persons Killed In Clash Between Security Forces And Protesters In Togo

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2 Persons Killed In Clash Between Security Forces And Protesters In Togo

At least two persons were reported killed in Togo over the weekend after security forces moved against protesters. Opposition has accused the government of using what it called “regime soldiers” it says opened fire on the demonstrators.

At least two persons were killed in clashes between Togo’s security forces and protesters.

Authorities reported finding a dead protester in Lome with an open wound in his left eye that indicated a bullet entry. Another dead body was also reported, this time with no bullet wounds.

The protests intensified after the government called for parliamentary elections to be held in late December.  Opposition is against the polls.  It has demanded reforms of the national electoral commission, and a two-term limit for presidents.

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Cameroon Law Graduates-Turn-Musicians Sing For Peace

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Cameroon Law Graduates-Turn-Musicians Sing For Peace

Two Cameroonian Law graduates, who are now musicians, have been traveling through the country’s English-speaking regions singing messages of peace they believe will touch the rebels and help end the separatist conflict there.

The singers started their group in October when they both lost family members and friend in the secessionist struggle in the English-speaking regions.

The duo sing in both English and French reminding people about the grave repercussions of war, and urging all sides to embrace peace.

The conflict has claimed hundreds of civilian lives. Thousands have been internally displaced, and thousands more have fled, many to neighboring Nigeria.

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