Gunmen Kidnap MSF Doctors From Dadaab Refugee Camp. Shoot Driver.
A really disturbing turn of events: Two Spanish workers with Medicines Sans Frontieres were kidnapped and one Kenyan driver wounded in an attack in Dadaab refugee camp, home to hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees. Authorities suspect that the attack, which occurred Thursday, was carried out by al Shabaab and that the Spanish women were taken over the border to Somalia. In response to this incident, the UN has temporarily suspended all non-life saving aid operations. “Hundreds of staff have been confined to their offices, forcing the cancellation of services like education, counseling and relocation of families until further notice. ‘Only water, food and health services are being maintained,’ said U.N. refugee agency spokeswoman Needa Jehu-Hoyah. ‘This will of course have an impact on the poor refugees.’” ( AP http://fxn.ws/qjgn6c)
South Africa Begins Mass Deportation of Zimbabwean Migrants
An estimated 2 million Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa following Zimbabwe’s epic economic collapse and growing political repression over the past 10 years. It now seems that the government of Jacob Zuma has had enough of them. “President Jacob Zuma, feeling political pressure from growing joblessness, has ordered the deportation of the Zimbabweans, who are accused by South Africans of taking their jobs. The deportations started Wednesday, with more than 250 of the illegal immigrants dumped at the two countries’ border. Officials said a further 300 would be similarly repatriated Thursday, and thereafter twice a week on Wednesdays and Thursdays. ‘We are only deporting undocumented immigrants and those who are intercepted while trying to skip the border through illegal entry points,’ a South African Immigration official, quoted by the local media, said.” (PANA http://bit.ly/o1KnTz)
UN Rights Chief Raises Prospect of “Civil War’ in Syria
In remarks to the press in Geneva on Friday, the top UN Human Rights Official Navi Pillay said that the death toll in Syria now exceeds 3,000 people and raised the spectre of ‘civil war.’ “The number of people killed since the violence started in March has now exceeded 3,000, including at least 187 children. More than 100 people have been reported killed in the last 10 days alone. In addition, thousands have been arrested, detained, forcibly disappeared and tortured. Family members inside and outside the country have been targeted for harassment, intimidation, threats and beatings. As more members of the military refuse to attack civilians and change sides, the crisis is already showing worrying signs of descending into an armed struggle.The Government of Syria has manifestly failed to protect its population. Furthermore, it has ignored the international community’s calls to cooperate with international investigations. The onus is on all members of the international community to take protective action in a collective and decisive manner, before the continual ruthless repression and killings drive the country into a full-blown civil war.” (UNHCHR http://bit.ly/qiLr8Y)
Will Bangkok Be Inundated With Flooded Waters?
Flood waters have reached the outskirts of the Bangkok metropolitan area, but so far confusion reigns as the government is sending mixed signals about how deeply the low-lying city of 9 million people will be affected. “‘I insist that the floods will only affect outer Bangkok and will not be widespread in other areas,’ Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said Friday. Authorities have for days been warning that the flooding has reached crisis levels and that waters rushing from the north could combine with rains and high tides in the next few days to flood the capital. Some have said the rush of water would be so strong that authorities would be left with little choice but to watch the city drown. But the message hasn’t always been clear, with some agencies, departments and officials contradicting others, sometimes in the same news conference. Erroneous reports Thursday said flood waters had broken through one key flood gate, leading one government minister to order residents in the area to urgently evacuate. The government later apologized for the ‘misinformation,’ saying the evacuation order had been reversed and that damage to the gate had been overestimated. The conflicting information has left many residents of Bangkok scratching their heads and wondering whether their neighborhoods are truly at risk – and if so how best to prepare.” (HuffPo http://huff.to/q4pO7X)