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Parents trade girl child for cow in East Africa.

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Child marriage is increasing in parts of war-torn South Sudan and drought-hit Kenya as parents swap their daughters for cows and goats to survive, campaigners said on Wednesday.

Africa accounts for nine out of the 10 countries with the highest rates of underage unions globally, advocacy group Girls Not Brides said, with girls marrying due to tradition, family ties, the stigma of pregnancy out of wedlock and poverty.



But long-running wars and climate change are now leading factors too, activists said, highlighting a rise in marriage among girls under the age of 18 in South Sudan to 52 percent from 40 percent in 2010, according to United Nations data.

“The conflicts just worsened the situation,” Dorcas Acen, a gender protection expert at the charity CARE International in South Sudan said.

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“Majority of the parents wish to give up their girls and marry them off because of the economic hardship. They are looking at how to reduce the number of mouths they need to feed.”

Despite a global decline in child marriages, there are still some 12 million underage girls married every year, often with devastating consequences for their health and education.

South Sudan has been gripped by civil war since 2013, pitting forces loyal to President Salva Kiir against rebels linked to former vice president Riek Machar, and millions are going hungry amind rampant inflation and declining oil output.

As the conflict drags on and hard currency loses it lustre, parents can now receive up to 300 cows in bride price, or dowry, when their a young girl weds, up from about 30 cows during peacetime, Acen said.

When there is a girl within the family ready to get married, people will come and present the number of cows,” she said on the sidelines of a global conference on child marriage in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

“Basically it’s just bidding – whoever bids with the highest number of cows will take the girl,” she said.

Across the border in Kenya, many semi-nomadic Maasai and Samburu herders exchanged their daughters for livestock during a severe drought last year that killed large numbers of animals, said Millicent Ondigo of Amref Health Africa.

“Since the number of goats has decreased, parents rather sell their daughter for four (or) five goats for marriage,” said Ondigo, a project officer for the Nairobi-based health charity.

Families often marry girls off at earlier ages during drought as this earns them dowry and increases the girls’ chances of being fed by wealthier husbands, experts say.

Ondigo is working to convince parents that sending girls to school would bring them longer-term economic benefits.

“(We told parents) when she is done with schooling, she will get a job and she will be able to buy you more than those four goats,” she said,

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Reuters

Motherland News

Nigeria: Woman Dies During Church Deliverance in Lagos

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A 51-year-old woman, Taibat Kareem, has collapsed and died during a deliverance service in a Cherubim and Seraphim Church  community, Lagos after allegedly drinking a substance said to be given to her by the church prophet, Olowomeye Ola, for deliverance.



The issue provoked reactions from the residents who went to the church and brought out the pastor to mob him on the street.

However, before he could be mobbed, the Isheri Police Division moved to the church, arrested two suspects including the pastor and took them to the police station for interrogation.

The incident happened at Oriofe Street in Ijegun in the outskirts of Lagos where the church is located.

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According to the residents, her supplier, one Ayodele Isaac, a herbalist, invited the late Taibat, who dealt in local herbs, to take some herbs for sale. She was going to take the herbs when Pastor Ola accosted her and told her that she needed deliverance. He then took her to the church for prayers; it was during the prayer session that Pastor Ola gave her a liquid substance to drink. Immediately she drank the substance, she collapsed on the ground inside the church.

 Pastor Ola reportedly took her to his own room where he allegedly tried to revive her. It was in the midst of the confusion that the residents raised the alarm, attacked the pastor and attempted to mob him before the police rescued him.
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The corpse of the deceased, Taibat, was deposited at an undisclosed mortuary for autopsy while the two suspects mentioned over her death, Ola and Isaac, were transferred to the SCIID Panti, Yaba, for further investigation.

 When our correspondent visited Isheri Osun Police Division, the DPO was not around to comment on the incident.

However, police sources at the station that the matter had been transferred to SCIID’s Homicide Department.

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United States to reinstate diplomatic presence in Somalia.

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The United States will re-establish a permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia, nearly 30 years after the U.S. embassy was closed as a civil war raged in the Horn of Africa country.

Somalia has been trying to recover from the conflict that engulfed the country in 1991, when clan warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned on each other.



“This historic event reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years and is another step forward in formalizing U.S. diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu,” the State Department said in a statement late on Tuesday.

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Somalia has in recent years faced an insurgency by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group, as well as famine and maritime piracy.

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While parts of the country are plagued by militant violence, a degree of stability in the capital, Mogadishu, has drawn investment from Somalis at home and abroad.

In September, the World Bank approved $80 million in grants to Somalia to fund public finance reforms, the first disbursement to the country in 30 years.

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