Top of the Morning: Kenyans to Face ICC Trial; Yemen President En Route to USA; Death Toll Rises in Nigeria Bombing

Top stories from the Development and Aid World News Service — DAWNS Digest.

Four Kenyan Big Whigs To Face Trial at ICC

The International Criminal Court ruled that four out of six high ranking Kenyan officials who allegedly helped direct post-election violence in 2007 can stand trial in the Hague. Several thousand people were killed in violence that pit ethnic groups against each other and the prosecutor of the ICC alleges that this violence was conceived and carried out by a group of top political leaders. “Among the four suspects sent for trial were Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and former Education Minister William Ruto, who both are planning to run for the presidency this year.Kenyatta, 50, is the son of Kenya’s founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, and the country’s richest citizen, with a personal fortune of half a billion dollars. Ruto is a former ally of Prime Minister Raila Odinga, but the two had a falling out — partly over Ruto’s insistence on making his own presidential bid this year.” (WaPo

Yemen’s President En Route to USA for Medical Treatment

After several weeks of speculation, it would appear that Yemen’s loathed autocrat Ali Abdullah Saleh, will visit New York City for medical treatment. On the one hand, giving Saleh a US visa is a pragmatic way of getting out of the county. On the other hand, he’s definitely got blood on his hands. “The State Department said the Obama administration had approved his visit. The department said in a statement that ‘the sole purpose of this travel is for medical treatment and we expect that he will stay for a limited time that corresponds to the duration of this treatment.’ The statement’s careful wording reflected the vigorous debate within the administration over whether to admit Mr. Saleh, a longtime American ally, and risk appearing to harbor an authoritarian leader accused of responsibility for the deaths of hundreds of antigovernment protesters. In making their decision, administration officials cited the advantages of having Mr. Saleh leave the country before the presidential election scheduled for Feb. 21.” (NYT

Death Toll Rises in Nigeria Attacks

At least 176 people are confirmed killed in a spate of attacks in northern Nigeria this weekend. This was by far the deadliest attack yet in what is a quickly escalating insurgency. “The militant Muslim group Boko Haram, which is fighting for rule by Islamic law in the country’s mainly Muslim north, claimed responsibility for blasts that struck eight government buildings on Jan. 20, killing at least 165 people. Another 11 people were killed when suspected Islamist gunmen attacked a bank, a police station and a hotel in the northeastern town of Tawafa Balewa yesterday, police said. “They seem to be able to do whatever they want to do, wherever they want to do it, which means the government is not safe,” Jubrin Ibrahim, director of the Abuja-based Center for Democracy and Development, said by phone. The government’s “own survival is at risk as this thing spreads.” (Bloomberg