And staying with Niger

Is it NIger (stress on the beginning)?  Or is it NigER (long stress on the end)?

A whole country and I’m not sure how to pronounce it. And neither, I’ve noticed, do British news-readers when (rarely) they have a news report from there to read.

Anyway (and I’m not reading this … you are!), Niger is in the news and in a disturbing way at that.

The Times is today reporting on how a former slave, Hadijatou Mani, is suing the government in Niger for failing to enforce its own laws that criminalise slavery. According to her claims in court yesterday, Hadijatou was “sold” for £250 when she was 12 years old, having first been bargained over “like a goat”.

Personally, what struck me reading this was the fact that Niger apparently only introduced laws against slavery in 2003. And that it reportedly has 43,000 actual slaves even now. You can only wish Hadijatou well with her case if it helps bring about a tightening up by the Niger authorities as well as other countries in West Africa.

Meanwhile, staying with Niger (and when was the last time you read that!?), Amnesty has just reported a few days ago that the Niger army has been putting down an attempted rebellion in the country with extremely brutal tactics.

We reckon that at least eight people were killed by soldiers between 22-25 March alone, including a 67-year-old donkey herder and a tradesman called Aboubakar Attoulèle Kouzaba who had his ears cut off and his head and hair set on fire before being stabbed to death.

If you’ve got the stomach for it – read the full grisly story here. I can’t leave you on that depressing note (even though we are Amnesty!), so cheer yourself up by reading yesterday’s Curmudgeonly take on Sunday’s Olympics torch affair.

"The Olympic Flame was extinguished almost less than eleven times on its journey to the Olympic stadium in Pudding Lane in the Olympic British city of London, organisers revealed today. The Flame is traditionally carried by a torch held in an athlete.” Blazin!

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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