The Nigerian Islamic militant movement Boko Haram has threatened to sell several hundred kidnapped girls into slavery. That would suggest there's a market for slaves in Africa's Sahel region. Which — you might be surprised to hear — actually does exist.
Boko Haram hasn't given up, but it's on the ropes after a push by the Nigerian military last year, and vigilance by regional peacekeepers. Also countering their influence is a regional shortwave radio network, Dandal Kura Radio International, started just over a year ago, as the world's first network to broadcast in Kanuri — the language spoken by 10 million people in the region, and by most members of Boko Haram. Anyone with a cellphone can call in and share information and ideas. This plus news, current affairs, radio dramas and other programming has started to help counter Boko Haram's power to attract, and is helping a bruised and fractured region move toward a less fraught future.
Bluegrass covers of pop and rock music abound abound. But none have quite the back story of The Henhouse Prowlers' version of "Chop My Money,"a cover of a Nigerian hip-hop mega-hit that created a frenzy in the country when the band toured there this summer.
Violence in northern Nigeria took an ominous turn this week when at least 100 teenage girls were kidnapped from a school in the remote northeast. It's thought that the Islamist militant group Boko Haram took the young women to a forest near the border with Cameroon. Omoyele Sowore of Sahara Reporters blames what he calls an "incompetent" Nigerian government.
Leonard Tshitenge grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo eating food from the region. But, now living in the US, the dishes he remembers aren't served anywhere. So he and his wife, who is from Nigeria, decided to teach Americans how to eat like they did back home.