Today's summary of international news is almost all from Africa-with no apologies. It's a big continent, with 1 billion of the world's people and nearly all of its ethnic and religious conflicts represented somewhere among them.
Tuareg rebels, who seized northern Mali after a military coup overthrew the government in March, are rampaging through Christian homes and churches. Barnabas Fund quotes a source in Mali who reports "massacres, rape of women, obligation to wear the veil, chasing Christians," and all churches destroyed in the towns of Gao and Timbuktu. The Tuareg movement, an Islamic group already linked to al-Qaeda, threatens to spread to other West African nations, and is believed to have links with Boko Haram, a rising militant group in northern Nigeria that also threatens Christians.
Conflicting reports abound about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the wake of the Kony 2012 video phenomenon. The Associated Press this week quotes Ugandan foot soldiers who believe Kony is dead, after tracking the LRA into the Central African Republic and finding no sign of the group. Ugandan intelligence alleges that Sudan's Islamic government in Khartoum has reactivated the LRA to flank the South Sudan army, which last week took over key Sudanese oilfields. With a lot of countries spending a lot of money, doesn't this seem like a place for U.S. intelligence and drones to go to work on Kony? Why has the Obama administration sent ground advisors instead? The LRA Crisis Tracker gets repeatedly cited as a source for news of Kony's activities. But the tracker is put out by Invisible Children, the group that brought us the hyped Kony 2012.
Libya's National Transitional Council issued a law banning parties organized on religious principles. That means you, Muslim Brotherhood.
Yemen's new president met with FBI director Robert Mueller only hours after government forces fought their way into a southern city held by Islamic terrorists. And at nearly the same time, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Mohammed Saeed Umda was killed in an air strike by U.S. drones as he travelled in a convoy. The U.S. Embassy described Umda as Yemen's fourth most wanted man. AQAP has been linked to several attempted attacks on U.S. targets, including the foiled Christmas Day 2009 bombing of an airliner over Detroit and explosives-laden parcels intercepted aboard cargo flights last year.
The wife of Joel Shrum, the American teacher killed by AQAP in Yemen in March, is back home with her family and told local press that her family "knew it was a risk" to live in Yemen but "never felt targeted" or in danger in the neighborhood where they lived.
Tom White, for 20 years the head of Voice of the Martyrs, died April 20 of apparent suicide. "Allegations were made to authorities this week that Tom had inappropriate contact with a young girl. Rather than face those allegations, and all of the resulting fallout for his family and this ministry and himself, Tom appears to have chosen to take his own life," reads a statement from VOM. White was well known for unflagging support for the persecuted church. In 1979 a plane from which he was dropping leaflets over Cuba crashed, and Fidel Castro imprisoned White for more than a year.