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More than 200 girls were abducted from their school on 14 April by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Even though the abduction occurred almost a month ago, the media coverage has been limited. However, the social media campaign, #BringBackOurGirls, has brought global attention to the abduction in Nigeria’s north.

Gathering at Union Square in New York City to rally for the release of the kidnapped girls. Photo by Michael Fleshman

Gathering at Union Square in New York City to rally for the release of the kidnapped girls. Photo by Michael Fleshman

The motive of the abduction is clear as the groups name, Boko Haram, loosely translates to “Western education is forbidden”. The group initially wanted to make sure the girls were not going to school and would instead marry them off.

However, Boko Haram’s demands have now changed, as they today released a video where the leader Abubakar Shekau demanded that all militants must be freed from prison before he would let the girls go. Many commentators have seen this as a good sign, that the group is changing its demands and is more willing to negotiate could work in favor of the girls’ release.

Several politicians and celebrities have voiced their opinion and demanded the release of the 276 girls captured. Among them, the United States’ first lady, Michelle Obama.


Nigeria’s former vice-president (1999-2007), Atiku Abubakar




Twitter as a news medium?

A couple of weeks ago I curated a Twitter list with the intent to see if Twitter could be an alternative news channel. So far there has been both pro’s and con’s of using Twitter as a news source.

The Twitter list has been a good source of information about current news, political matters and social aspects of conflicts in Africa. This is mainly because of the variety on the list, with major news agencies, independent news agencies, politicians, foreign correspondents and humanitarian organisations. It has given me a deeper understanding of the conflicts in Africa and also how under-reported many of these conflicts are.

Although the list has given me many different viewpoints, it has also been hard to follow certain accounts. Africa Review, Invisible Children and Think Africa Press are the accounts that most frequently update their Twitter. Since the other accounts do not update as frequently, they do not often appear in the Twitter list’s news-feed.

Since the last post there has been some additions to the list. Accounts that resemble the ones I had already added came up as suggestions. There has been some great suggestions here, for instance Oliver Nduhungirehe. He works as Minister Counsellor and permanent Representative to the United Nations for Rwanda. In April it was Rwanda’s turn to resume presidency of UNSC and their topic for discussion last month was conflict prevention in Africa. By following Nduhungirehe I got a good overview almost day for day what issues were discussed.

updated twitter list 2

Most of the additions to the Twitter list are related to Rwanda’s presidency in UNSC. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Rwanda” (MINAFFET Rwanda) and “Mission of Rwanda UN” were tweeting updates on the debate in UNSC during the whole of April. The last addition to the Twitter list is news organisation “Daily Nation” from Kenya. 

There are currently no followers of the Twitter list, I believe that it is because I have not promoted it enough. I wanted to see for myself first whether it could work as good source of information. I must say it has proven to be a very effective way to consume a lot of information in a short amount of time, but I would love to get your take on Twitter as a news medium on the poll I set up.

If you wish to follow my list on conflicts in Africa, click here

Twitter list for conflicts in Africa

The best way to keep updated on the conflicts in Africa is actually through social media, which is why I have compiled a list of several Twitter accounts worth following. Often we see that breaking news are quicker to be on Twitter than in an online newspapers, simply because it is easier to chuck out a maximum of 140 letters than a 400-500 word long news article.

  1. Africa 24 Media: Africa 24 Media’s focus is to give Africa a voice through making documentaries, features, series programs and photography. The content on their webpage is available for everyone.
  2. Think Africa Press: Think Africa Press covers story’s that are not globally covered. They have journalists in Africa as well as international experts. This news page offers a more in depth analysis of current issues in Africa.
  3. Africa Review: Africa review provides a critical insider perspective on African news. It is also a place where you can share your opinions on events happening in Africa and also read other opinions. Although it is supported by Kenyan “Nation Media Group“, they cover news stories from the whole continent.
  4. Louise Redvers: Louise is a former Africa correspondent for BBC. She has worked five years in Africa, but is now working in the Middle East. Even though she is no longer in Africa I still think she is worth following because of her knowledge and interest in Africa that we can see from her tweets.
  5. African Union Peace: African Union Peace, as their name says, works to promote peace, security and sustainability in Africa. Their Twitter account keeps us updated on their latest efforts in conflict resolution and peacekeeping.
  6. Louise Mushikiwabo: Louise is the Minster of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Rwanda. During months of April, Rwanda has presidency in UNSC, where they will be focusing on “Prevention of conflict in Africa: addressing the root causes”. Louise is one of the central persons in this debate, so she is the right person to follow to keep track of what is happening at UNSC this month.
  7. Invisible Children: Invisible children is a really good source for keeping updated on the charity work “Invisible children” do in Central Africa. This charity created one of the most watched videos on YouTube through all time, Kony 2012. A video that informed the audience about the atrocities being committed by Joseph Kony and his rebel group the LRA. They are working towards arresting Joseph Kony and getting him on trial in the international criminal court.
  8. Andrew Harding: Andrew has been BBC’s foreign correspondent in Africa since 2009. He covers all kinds of news in Africa and has several tweets sharing his insight on ongoing conflicts. I would encourage you to have a look at the lists he follows, especially the one called “Newsday Africa”.
  9. APO: African press organisation is a very good media release resource for journalists and others interested. They are the leading press release organisation in Africa. APO offers advice and information on strategy, public diplomacy, government relations and event promotion.
  10. Ginny Stein: Ginny is ABC Africa‘s correspondent, she is based in Kenya. During her career she has won three Walkley awards, her second award was for her episode on “Rwanda – questions of murder”. Her Twitter feed does not only consist of her articles, but also interesting retweets related to African news.
  11. Reuters Africa: Reuters is an internationally recognised newsagency. Part of why they are so recognised is because of their focus on objectivity in their articles. Therefore I think Reuters Africa is a really good source to follow, because then you know the information you get is accurate and objective.
Twitter list for conflicts in Africa

Twitter list for conflicts in Africa

If you wish to follow me on Twitter click here.