Africa’s children were once again sacrificed Thursday, April 2, 2015 with the attack at Garissa University College in Kenya by religious extremists. As we mourn with the parents of the 148 departed, we remember that they join other parents in Chibok, Nigeria -- 276 of whose daughters were kidnapped a year ago. They in turn joined the parents of hundreds of young women who have been brutally raped by armed groups in Congo, and in other conflict zones over the past decade.
Priority Africa Network (PAN) stands in solidarity with the people of Kenya, Nigeria and other nations that are mourning their losses. As social justice activists we call upon all people to challenge the forces creating a global environment for extremism to flourish.
PAN reflects on growing extremism on the continent with great concern. We’ve observed over the past decade that women and children have been turned into targets of choice, to be enslaved and used as pawns in political battles and resource contestations being carried out largely by men. In fact, the growing militarization of the African continent -- by Western forces, national armies, splinter armed groups, vigilantes, Sharia police, and worst of all, extremist movements such as Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab -- has flourished in the context of neoliberal economic policies that have severely undermined the reach of government and divested the public sphere. This reality has overburdened communities and reduced many to new levels of abjection with particularly disastrous effects on women and young people.
The general population has become chess pieces in the changing game board of the fight for political power and resource control.
We have to make connections, investigate and expose the forces and interests enabling, arming and financing extremist movements. As people who care about humanity and security, we must come together to resolve our differences, and to develop strategies to redress gross inequalities, assure justice, and stop the senseless abuse and loss of life.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Kenya, especially those in Garissa. We send our messages of support to the parents of the abducted Chibok girls in Nigeria on the one-year anniversary. We stand in support of all other African peoples and communities subjected to such gross and deadly violations of basic rights. We resolve to engage in efforts to end senseless wars and conflict, injustice, and sexual and gender-based violence, and to mobilize to transform our societies and ourselves.