Top of the Morning

Top stories from today’s EST Edition of the DAWNS Digest. Sign up to receive the full roundup of global humanitarian news delivered directly to your inbox each morning.

In a Huge Shift, Kenya Sends Troops to Somalia

The Kenyan government is mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it any more. After a string of kidnappings of foreigners–including the nabbing of two Spanish doctors from Dadaab– the Kenyan government has decided to chase al Shabaab over the border into Somalia. “The military intervention marks an immense shift in policy for Kenya, a country that has never sent its troops to fight in another country’s territory since independence in 1963. The military action into Somali territory – confirmed by Kenyan spokesman Alfred Mutua on Sunday – follows the three separate kidnapping and murder attacks on Western tourists and Western aid workers over the past month, and repeated threats by the Somali-based Islamist militia Al Shabab to attack African countries like Kenya and Uganda, which support Shabab’s enemy, the fragile Somali government in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. ‘For the first time our country is threatened with the most serious level of terrorism,’ said Minister of Internal Security George Saitoti at a press conference on Saturday. ‘If you are attacked by an enemy, you have the right to pursue that enemy right where he is,’ Kenyan Defense Minister Yusuf Haji told reporters.” (CSM

Senegal’s Fight Against Female Genital Mutilation Gets Top Billing in Sunday’s NYT

A-1, Above the Fold, Color Photograph and all — The New York Times examines how one small local NGO is improbably leading a movement to end Female Genital Mutilation in Senegal. “The change is happening without the billions of dollars that have poured into other global health priorities throughout the developing world in recent years. Even after campaigning against genital cutting for years, the United Nations has raised less than half the $44 million it set as the goal. But here in Senegal, Tostan, a group whose name means ‘breakthrough’ in Wolof, Senegal’s dominant language, has had a major impact with an education program that seeks to build consensus, African-style, on the dangers of the practice, while being careful not to denounce it as barbaric as Western activists have been prone to do. Senegal’s Parliament officially banned the practice over a decade ago, and the government has been very supportive of Tostan’s efforts. ‘Before you would never even dare to discuss this,’ said Mamadou Dia, governor of the Kolda region where this village is located. ‘It was taboo. Now you have thousands of people coming to abandon it.’” (NYT

Sharp Escalation of Violence in Yemen

Dozens of people have been killed in three days of clashes in Sanaa. Violence is coming to a head just as the Security Council in New York is poised to pass a resolution calling for President Saleh to leave office. “Explosions rocked the Yemeni capital on Monday morning in a sharp escalation of violence between the government and opposition forces. Fighting that broke out late Sunday night between government forces and troops loyal to a rebel commander, Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar, continued in area surrounding Kentucky Square, so called because of a restaurant resembling a KFC that used to be there. Mortar and heavy machine gun fire echoed from the area, which is just south of Sana’s large anti-government sit-in. It was not immediately clear how many on each side died in the violence but a doctor at a field hospital inside the sit-in area said four protesters were killed by stray mortar fire.” (NYT