Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two US drones crash in south Somalia

Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:11PM GMT
An American Predator drone (file photo)
Two unmanned aerial vehicles operated by the US military have crashed in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reports.

A Somali government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the American remote-controlled drones went down in close proximity to Dhoobley town, situated 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the Kenyan border and about 500 kilometers (312 miles) southwest of the Somali capital Mogadishu, late on Tuesday.

He added that the remains of the aircraft were retrieved by Somali government forces.

Somalia is the sixth known country where Washington uses remote-aerial vehicles to conduct surveillance and air strikes.

The United States has employed drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen to launch aerial bombings.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world.


Cracks appear in ship stranded off New Zealand

Cracks appear in ship stranded off New Zealand by euronews-en

Gunmen open fire on NATO trucks in Pakistan

Gunmen open fire on NATO trucks in Pakistan by reuters

The Troubles of Migrants Travelling South from Somalia and Other

Abdul worked as a journalist in Somalia before death threats from Al-Shabab militia drove him to leave his native country and head for Mozambique where friends told him he would receive help at Maratane refugee camp in Nampula Province.

Migrants travelling south from somalia:Many Horn migrants begin their journeys at refugee camps in northern Kenya

Africa:   Mixed Responses to Mixed Migration (news)
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
28 September 2011

Abdul worked as a journalist in Somalia before death threats from Al-Shabab militia drove him to leave his native country and head for Mozambique where friends told him he would receive help at ... [read more]
East Africa:   Migrants Beaten, Deported, Jailed on Trek South (news)
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
19 September 2011

Near the coastal town of Mtwara, Tanzania's border with Mozambique is marked only by the River Ruvuma which is wide and relatively shallow at this point just before it drains into the Indian Ocean. ... [read more]
Mozambique:   Horn Migrants Find Peace but 'No Better Life' (news)
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
14 September 2011

Fahir Mohamed sold her gold jewellery to raise the US$1,000 fee for her and her husband to be smuggled by boat from the southern Somali port city of Kismayo to Mombasa in Kenya and then on to Palma in ... [read more]
Mozambique:   'Many People Go Missing on Their Way Here' (news)
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
14 September 2011

Mohidin Adam Ibrahim, 27, arrived at Maratane refugee camp in Mozambique's Nampula Province in February 2010, but is still awaiting a decision on his refugee status. He told IRIN about his journey ... [read more]

Somalia: Rape - the Hidden Side of the Famine Crisis

Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

Isaiah Esipisu
5 October 2011

Dadaab — When Aisha Diis* and her five children fled their home in Somalia seeking aid from the famine devastating the region, she could not have known the dangers of the journey, or even fathom that she would be raped along the way.
Diis left her village of Kismayu, southwest of the Somali capital of Mogadishu, for the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya's North Eastern Province in April.

"I was in a group of many women and children, but four of us had come from the same village, hence, we related (to each other) as one family. Along the way, we stopped to make some strong tea since the children were feeling very tired and hungry. One woman remained behind with the children and the three of us went to search for firewood," Diis told IPS through a translator.
"We were ambushed by a group of five men who stripped us naked and raped us repeatedly," she said as tears rolled down her cheeks. "It is something I have not been able to forget. But I wouldn't like my children to know about it."
But the trauma Diis and the other two women had to undergo is not an isolated incident.
As hundreds of tired, weak and malnourished women and children stream into Dadaab from famine-hit Somalia daily, the journey, for many of the women, would have been a harrowing one.
Tired and dusty, most women carry their babies tied to their backs. For many this precious cargo is the only possession they have managed to save from their homes in Somalia. Some, however, are slightly more fortunate and come with their children and what few belongings they have packed onto donkey carts.
They rarely talk about what has happened to them on the way here, when they arrive.
Instead, most register as refugees and undergo medical screening with their children. Then they are allocated a tent and basic household equipment.

The tents have no lockable doors, no windows, and no furniture, not even a bed. But all the same this is a place that the refugees can call home - for now, and perhaps for many years to come. (Some of the refugees were born here in 1991 when the camp was first established, and have not known any other home.)
But even after the women have settled in, many do not come forward to speak about the violence they experienced on their way to the camp.
"Gender-based violence is a hidden side of the famine crisis," said Sinead Murray, the gender-based violence (GBV) programme manager for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) at Dadaab.
"As per the rapid assessment done on GBV in Dadaab released by the IRC in July, rape and sexual violence were mentioned as the most pressing concerns for women and girls while fleeing Somalia and as an ongoing, though lesser concern, in the camps," Murray told IPS.
"Some women interviewed during (the IRC) survey said they witnessed women and girls being raped in front of their husbands and parents, at the insistence of perpetrators described as 'men with guns.' Others were forced to strip down naked, and in the event they were raped by multiple perpetrators," said Murray.
But Diis, and the two women who were raped with her, are some of the few Somali women who reported the violence they have been subjected to on their journey to Dadaab. In Diis' case, she was brave enough to do so because she is a widow, and does not fear recrimination from her family as other women do.
"I did not fear to disclose my case to the medical officer because I did not have a husband," said the widow whose husband was gunned down in Somalia by unknown assailants seven months ago.

"Many women are assaulted on their way to the refugee camp by unknown armed men, especially when travelling in a group without men," said Ann Burton, a senior public health officer at the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at Dadaab.
"However, most of them are reluctant to report such cases since they fear that their families will blame them, communities will reject them or simply because they feel ashamed to talk about it."
Diis was given post exposure prophylaxis, a short-term antiretroviral treatment used to reduce the likelihood of HIV infection, after she reported her rape.
"After I reported my case I was given some medicine, and I was monitored for three months after which I was informed that I had not contracted HIV. That was one of my biggest concerns," said Diis. She also received counselling.
The other two women who were raped with Diis were also counselled and received post exposure prophylaxis.
Diis said that she is aware of other women who were raped before their immediate family members and did not report it to the medical staff at the camp.
Not reporting the rape just adds to the suffering of the women. Burton said: "Survivors often do not get critical life-saving care because of keeping it a secret."
So far, only 30 cases of rape were reported between January and July 2011 according to the UNHCR at Dadaab. But medical experts at the camp say that this is a small fraction of a huge problem faced by women.

Once they arrive at Dadaab some women continue to experience gender-based violence from their intimate partners. Murray said this includes early marriages and survival sex - where women are forced to exchange sex for access to basic needs.
Though such GBV incidents are said to be less frequent within the camps, some women told IPS that they feel insecure and scared at night while sleeping in the makeshift shelters.
"The camps do not have fences and at the same time we are not able to lock our shelters throughout the night. Anything can happen in the dark hours," said Amina Muhammad who lives in Dadaab.
The biggest risk at the camp, according to the women IPS spoke to, is when they travel long distances in search of firewood.
*Not her real name

Mozambique: 59 Illegal Immigrants Arrested

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

11 October 2011

Maputo — The Mozambican police have detained 59 illegal immigrants in various parts of the country. Many of these were from the Maratane refugee centre in the northern province o Nampula.
According to the police, "in the district of Nicoadala, in Zambezia province, the police detained six Ethiopians who being transported in a vehicle owned by the company Maningue-Nice".

The authorities also arrested a total of 12 illegal immigrants in Nampula, of which 9 are Pakistanis and three Bangladeshis. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene when he saw the police approaching.
Mozambique is receiving an ever growing number of refugees and economic migrants. Some settle in the country whilst many use Mozambique as a corridor to get to the more prosperous South Africa.
In the first six months of this year, authorities in the northern province of Cabo Delgado received 5,324 applications for asylum. Most of these were submitted by citizens from the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa.

Nigeria: Palestine - Give Peace a Chance

Daily Champion (Lagos)

11 October 2011

Watching the influencing pattern exhibited by Israel's representatives, most especially its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was very worrisome. Also listening to the US President's assertion that it will deny the request by Palestine for statehood, emits intense contradictions for principles it claims to stand for. Was it not the same US President, with his European counterparts that recently supported leadership changes in other Arab nations? Then the question: Why deny Palestine the same aspiration?

Equally disturbing, are the proclamations of some of the US Senators, that they will withdraw funding for the United Nations, if it were to successfully support Palestine's intentions to formally declare its independence, and restructure itself around good governance.
If the aspirations of a suppressed group of people is for the self-determination of its existence, why deny such a group that right? The UN obviously has an obligation to act to protect the suppressed group.

And surprisingly disappointing, is Nigeria's decision to withdraw from this momentous voting process, for unknown reasons. In the recent past, we have seen President Goodluck Jonathan making comments on his unwavering support for universal human rights. Then one begins to question his decision to have conscientiously allowed himself to be influenced, in spite of all evidences that indicate the continued suffering of the Palestinian people. Israel's defense for its objection to Palestine's statehood is that giving Palestine control of territories annexed during the 1967 war would constitute a danger to its security. Let's make one distinction very clear, in our advancing age, the notion of annexing one's territory for the expansion of another's, is a notion that deserves utmost rejection from the world body.
If one argues that Palestine doesn't seem committed to peaceful co-existence with Israel, then can't we also say that the peace process is being negotiated from a position of advantage for the Israelis? Indeed, Israel has the advantage on the bargaining table, making Palestine the weaker partner.

The assembly of leaders must present an opportunity for both representatives of the disputed areas, to present their case, and also for others to understand fully the underlying reason for the decades long conflict. The PLO President, Mahmoud Abbas, presented a speech that evinced sympathy for the cause of his people. It was also clear that Israel's Prime Minister may not have been the appropriate candidate to represent his country on this momentous event. Regardless of the voting pattern, the UN must seek to level the playing field with its member states; in other words, the veto power votes must not be seen an a discriminating factor on such an important issue, of which the United Nations' existence was formed.
Lastly, matters concerning the preservation of human rights, improvement of living standards, and the provision of security, should never be ignored in favour of concessionary promises. Abstaining from the voting process mistakenly reinforces the continual subjugation of the Palestine people. We hope that President Jonathan understands that notion, and realises that peace begins with the tolerance of the other's existence. In clearer terms, Israel must allow Palestine's due existence, and then one can expect a reciprocal