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Turkey to help Somalia rebuild infrastructure, SNA

Turkey has been helping to heal the wounds of the people of Somalia for years, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on humanitarian aid, infrastructure projects, schools, hospitals and in every other possible way. Turkey’s Ambassador to Somalia Olgan Bekar talked to Daily Sabah during an exclusive interview about Ankara’s projects and future plans for

Police officers killed by separate bomb blasts in Kenya

Eight Kenyan security officers were killed in two separate roadside bombings in eastern Kenya on Wednesday, senior officials said, and Somali Islamist militants claimed both attacks. In Mandera, in the extreme northeast of Kenya, a governor’s convoy was blown up by what the Kenyan Red Cross said appeared to have been a landmine. The area

Two killed in a renewed Inter-clan battle in Somalia

At least two people were reported to have been killed, and several others wounded in a renewed Inter-clan fighting in central Somalia on Thursday morning. The fighting broke out between two armed clan militiamen hailing from the rival Puntland and Galmudug states at Balli-Busle area, located east of Mudug region, according to the reports. The

Somali President meets with Emir of Qatar

Somali President HE Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has arrived in Doha, the capital of Qatar on a state visit on Wednesday afternoon. President Farmajo accompanied by several high-ranking officials, including foreign, Security and planning ministers received a cordial welcome at Doha Airport from Qatar government. According to sources, the President was reported to have meet with

Africa Day 2017: Harnessing Demographic Dividend Through Investment in Youth

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Africa is now the continent with the largest percentage of people under 35 years-old. Experts say that presents both opportunities and challenges. Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth is…

Dozens Drown Off Libya As Aid Groups Denounce Tripoli's Coast Guard

ROME — 

More than 30 migrants, mostly toddlers, drowned on Wednesday when about 200 people without life jackets fell from a boat into the sea off the Libyan coast before they could be hauled into waiting rescue boats.

Rescue group MOAS, which operates in the Mediterranean, said its staff was pulling bodies out of the water. “Most are toddlers,” co-founder Chris Catrambone said on Twitter.

A total of 34 dead bodies were found in the water, and around 1,800 people rescued from four rubber dinghies and six wooden boats, the coast guard said later in a statement.

British and Spanish navy ships, aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF), three merchant ships and a tug boat joined MOAS and the Italian Coast Guard and Navy to carry out the rescues.

The ill-fated boat probably tipped because of a combination of weather conditions and the fact the migrants suddenly crowded to one side, sending just under half of the 500 on board into the water, the coast guard said.

More than 1,300 people have died this year on the world’s most dangerous crossing for migrants, after boarding flimsy boats to flee poverty and war across Africa and the Middle East.

Last Friday, more than 150 disappeared at sea, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday, citing testimony collected after survivors disembarked in Italy.

In the past week, more than 7,000 migrants have been plucked from boats in international waters off the western coast of Libya, where people smugglers operate with impunity.

Despite efforts by Italy and the European Union to train and equip the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and its coast guard to fight traffickers, migrants are arriving in record numbers.

Disputes are also brewing between the Libyan Coast Guard and aid groups. MSF and SOS Mediteranee said officials from the Tripoli-based force had boarded a migrant boat during a rescue Tuesday, robbing the migrants and firing shots into the air.

More than 60 people fell into the water in the ensuing panic, but no one was injured as life jackets had already been given out, MSF and SOS Mediteranee said, broadly corroborating an earlier report by humanitarian group Jugend Rettet.

“Italian and European authorities should not be providing support to the Libyan Coast Guard,” MSF representative Annemarie Loof said. “This support is further endangering people’s lives.”

Group of Seven summit

Italy is hosting a meeting of the world’s seven major industrialized nations in Sicily on Friday and Saturday, and is pushing the group, which includes the United States, to put migration, Libya’s stabilization and African development at the top of the agenda.

“The tragedy of children dying in the Mediterranean is a wake-up call to leaders meeting in Sicily,” the United Nations Children’s Fund Deputy Executive Director Justin Forsyth, who is traveling to the summit, said in a statement.

Authorities have diverted rescue vessels to the mainland from their usual ports in Sicily during the summit, keeping the migration crisis out of sight but not out of mind.

More than 50,000 migrants have been rescued at sea and brought to Italy so far this year, a 46 percent increase on the same period of last year, the Interior Ministry said this week.

Most rescues take place just outside the 12-mile mark that separates Libyan territory from international waters.

It is a busy stretch of sea where humanitarian vessels and the Libyan Coast Guard are joined by scavengers hoping to recover abandoned migrant boats and their engines.

After Tuesday’s skirmish, Jugend Rettet said the Libyans towed two migrant boats back to shore while humanitarian groups brought more than 1,000 on board.

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Somali President arrives in Qatar on state visit

Somali President HE Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has arrived in Doha, the capital of Qatar on a state visit on Wednesday afternoon. President Farmajo accompanied by several high-ranking officials, including foreign, Security and planning ministers received a cordial welcome at Doha Airport from Qatar government. According to sources, the President is expected to meet with the

S. Sudan’s Kiir Announces Truce, National Dialogue

UNITED NATIONS — 

The U.N.’s top official in South Sudan says President Salva Kiir has formally launched a long-awaited national dialogue and declared a unilateral cessation of hostilities.

“While the National Dialogue could bring a welcome focus on reconciliation, for it to be credible, it will need the genuine participation of opposition constituencies,” David Shearer told the U.N. Security Council via a video link Wednesday from Juba. “Meanwhile, opposition groups have come together around a common position and jointly denounced the National Dialogue,” he added.

Kiir also announced a unilateral cease-fire and said he would review the cases of political prisoners. Shearer expressed some skepticism, noting it was not the first time Kiir had declared a cessation of hostilities and added that there would be “close scrutiny” on the number of prisoners actually released.

South Sudan’s U.N. envoy Joseph Mourn Malok told council members the cease-fire is intended to create an inclusive environment for the national dialogue and to allow the movement of humanitarian aid to famine-hit areas.

The U.N. mission in South Sudan has had to cope with little cooperation from Kiir’s government.

“There is war, there is famine, our peacekeepers are operating in very, very difficult conditions,” new U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Pierre Lacroix told reporters.

“They do not get the kind of support and cooperation they would deserve from the parties, particularly from the government,” he added.

Sanctions

One route the council has gone to try to force better cooperation is through sanctions on spoilers, those who obstruct efforts by the United Nations to halt the fighting. On Wednesday, the council unanimously extended the sanctions regime on South Sudan for another year.

But the possibility of imposing an arms embargo to stem the violence still appeared beyond reach, as veto-wielding member Russia expressed its long-held opposition to such a measure.

“Solid peace in South Sudan is not going to be brought about by a Security Council arms embargo, but rather by progress on the political solution, as well as targeted measures for the disarmament of civilians, demobilization and reintegration of combatants,” said Russia’s U.N. envoy Petr Illichev.

Rainy Season Begins

Meanwhile, the rainy season has begun, which means the country’s rudimentary roads will be unpassable for the next four months. While this will force a reduction in fighting, it will increase the challenge to humanitarian workers in getting aid to those in dire need, including in two counties that have already been declared famine zones.

Shearer said cholera, a potentially deadly water-borne disease, has been on the rise, with 7,700 cases recorded.

Aid workers must also contend with one of the most dangerous working environments in the world, with 84 humanitarians killed since the conflict began in December 2013. This year, 17 aid workers have been killed in South Sudan.

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SOMALIA CAR BOMB KILLS AT LEAST 8 IN CAPITAL, POLICE SAY.

A car bomb exploded in Somalia’s capital, killing at least eight people and injuring 15, police said Wednesday, as the extremist group al-Shabab quickly claimed responsibility. The Somalia-based group has vowed to step up attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere after the federal government recently announced a new offensive against the group. Targets have included high-profile …

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