Congo militias used schoolgirls as human shields believing their ‘magical powers’ May 21, 2019 0 800 12345 NAIROBI: Schoolgirls in the Democratic Republic of Congo were raped, forced into marriage and used as human shields by militias who believed they had “magical powers” during violence over a year ago, an investigation by a group of charities said on Monday.The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) said its research into the year-long violence in Congo’s central Kasai region, which largely ended in 2017, found that female students suffered multiple abuses by armed groups. Based on interviews with over 55 students and teachers, the report documents testimonies from survivors and witnesses of how militiamen attacked hundreds of schools - kidnapping girls for sexual slavery, forced marriage and to serve as child soldiers.“Militias believed in girls’ magical powers, and often used them as the first line of defense to rustle their skirts to ward off soldiers with guns,” said Diya Nijhowne, GCPEA’s executive director. Armed only with a broom or kitchen utensil, young girls were placed on the frontlines, said the report, as they were believed to possess powers. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Italy unions refuse to load Saudi ship over Yemen war May 21, 2019 0 2176 Trump’s ‘genocidal taunts won’t end Iran’, says Zarif May 21, 2019 0 422 Palestinians to shun US-led economic peace plan, say they weren’t consulted May 21, 2019 0 417 ‘Dispute over top job main sticking point in Sudan talks’ AFP Khartoum A “dispute” over who should lead Sudan’s new governing body was the key sticking point in overnight talks between army rulers and protesters, a protest leader said Monday. The latest negotiations were .. Houthis deny targeting Makkah with missiles Reuters DUBAI Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement denied Saudi media reports on Monday that it had fired a ballistic missile towards Makkah, Islam’s holiest site, at a time of heightened tensions between Tehran and .. Iraqi Shiite leaders warn against US-Iran war Baghdad: Iraqi Shiite leaders warned on Monday against dragging their country into a possible war between the United States and Iran, a day after a rocket fell near the US embassy in Baghdad. Prominent Shiite Muslim .. Oman’s top diplomat visits Tehran, talks on regional issues LONDON: The foreign minister of Oman, which in the past helped pave the way for negotiations between Iran and the United States, visited Tehran on Monday as tensions rise between the Islamic Republic and the United States .. Russia air strikes kill 10 civilians in northwest Syria Kafranbe: Air strikes by Syrian regime ally Russia have killed 10 civilians including five children in a northwestern militant bastion, a monitor said Monday, hours after Moscow announced a ceasefire there. The .. 18 people killed as Al Shabaab attacks army base in Somalia dpa Mogadishu Eighteen people were killed when terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked an army base in southern Somalia, a local official said Monday. Among the dead were 14 militants and four soldiers, who had been manning .. Tajikistan blames Islamic State for prison riot, 32 killed DUSHANBE: Three prison guards and 29 inmates were killed in a prison riot in Tajikistan that the government blamed on Islamic State militants. Tajikistan’s Justice Ministry said the riot broke out late on Sunday in the .. DR Congo political heavyweight Moise Katumbi returns Lubumbashi: Thousands of people welcomed Moise Katumbi, a prominent foe of DR Congo’s former president Joseph Kabila, as he landed at Lubumbashi airport on Monday after three years in self-imposed exile. The .. Beijing denounces US warship sail-by in South China Sea Beijing: China on Monday denounced a US warship sail-by near disputed islands in the South China Sea as a violation of its sovereignty, amid mounting tensions over trade between the two countries. The People’s ..