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Four Britons kidnapped in Nigeria’s Delta state
19 October 2017, 12:00 PM

Four Britons have been kidnapped in Nigeria’s southern Delta state, a police official said on Wednesday.

The police are attempting to rescue the four people, who were taken by unidentified gunmen said Andrew Aniamaka, a spokesperson for Delta state police.

Kidnapping for ransom is a common problem in parts of Nigeria. A number of foreigners have in the last few years been kidnapped in the Niger Delta region, which holds most of the country’s crude oil – the country’s economic mainstay.

“The abductors have not made any contact but we are doing our investigations to know the motive and have them rescued without jeopardising their lives,” said Aniamaka.

“Information available to us shows they are missionaries giving free medical services,” he said, adding that the British nationals had been working in a very rural area.

There was an increase in crime in the southern region last year that coincided with a series of attacks on energy facilities. However, there have been no militant attacks on energy installations so far this year.

– By REUTERS

Central African Republic children starve as aid workers flee fighting
17 October 2017, 8:49 PM

Children are starving to death in Central African Republic because violence has forced aid workers to pull out, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the country said on Tuesday.

Four years after a conflict began between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian “anti-balaka” militias, Central African Republic had seemed calm in the early part of the year. But violence has flared since May, turning the southeast into a virtual no-go area.

“There is no humanitarian assistance there. It’s not even half, it’s nothing, because it was just not possible for humanitarians to stay there,” coordinator Najat Rochdi said. “We started already seeing children dying from severe malnutrition.”

Lack of funds had already forced aid workers to halve food aid and in some places stop it completely, despite widespread malnutrition in children under five-years-old.

“What I heard -– but we have not been able to confirm it — is that so far we had 10 kids who died from malnutrition. But as long as we don’t have humanitarians going there, it’s very difficult for us to confirm that,” Rochdi said.

The violence is often ethnically based and tinged with suspicions of witchcraft. The latest U.N. humanitarian report said four children had been abducted and killed in the town of Bambari, their bodies found with their organs removed.

In the town of Kembe, about 40 people were reportedly killed or wounded in a clash between armed groups on Oct. 10, it said.

The number of displaced people has jumped by 50 percent to 600,000 this year, in addition to 500,000 who have fled into neighbouring countries. Rochdi said 400,000 children were not going to school.

Overcrowded camps averaging 30,000 displaced people are fertile recruiting grounds for armed groups, so the United Nations is trying to clear out weapons and fighters and get people back home wherever possible.

The U.N. peacekeeping force is only 11,600 strong, in a country the size of France and Belgium combined, and the government is struggling to create an army that can hold territory against marauding gunmen.

The United States and Uganda withdrew their forces after declaring victory in April against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a marauding gang notorious for abducting and recruiting child soldiers.

Rochdi said their withdrawal “left a vacuum” and LRA attacks had continued sporadically.

– By REUTERS

Central African Republic children starve as aid workers flee fighting
17 October 2017, 8:49 PM

Children are starving to death in Central African Republic because violence has forced aid workers to pull out, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the country said on Tuesday.

Four years after a conflict began between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian “anti-balaka” militias, Central African Republic had seemed calm in the early part of the year. But violence has flared since May, turning the southeast into a virtual no-go area.

“There is no humanitarian assistance there. It’s not even half, it’s nothing, because it was just not possible for humanitarians to stay there,” coordinator Najat Rochdi said. “We started already seeing children dying from severe malnutrition.”

Lack of funds had already forced aid workers to halve food aid and in some places stop it completely, despite widespread malnutrition in children under five-years-old.

“What I heard -– but we have not been able to confirm it — is that so far we had 10 kids who died from malnutrition. But as long as we don’t have humanitarians going there, it’s very difficult for us to confirm that,” Rochdi said.

The violence is often ethnically based and tinged with suspicions of witchcraft. The latest U.N. humanitarian report said four children had been abducted and killed in the town of Bambari, their bodies found with their organs removed.

In the town of Kembe, about 40 people were reportedly killed or wounded in a clash between armed groups on Oct. 10, it said.

The number of displaced people has jumped by 50 percent to 600,000 this year, in addition to 500,000 who have fled into neighbouring countries. Rochdi said 400,000 children were not going to school.

Overcrowded camps averaging 30,000 displaced people are fertile recruiting grounds for armed groups, so the United Nations is trying to clear out weapons and fighters and get people back home wherever possible.

The U.N. peacekeeping force is only 11,600 strong, in a country the size of France and Belgium combined, and the government is struggling to create an army that can hold territory against marauding gunmen.

The United States and Uganda withdrew their forces after declaring victory in April against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a marauding gang notorious for abducting and recruiting child soldiers.

Rochdi said their withdrawal “left a vacuum” and LRA attacks had continued sporadically.

Tuesday 17 October 2017 20:49

REUTERS

Central African Republic children starve as aid workers flee fighting
17 October 2017, 8:49 PM

Children are starving to death in Central African Republic because violence has forced aid workers to pull out, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator for the country said on Tuesday.

Four years after a conflict began between Muslim Seleka rebels and Christian “anti-balaka” militias, Central African Republic had seemed calm in the early part of the year. But violence has flared since May, turning the southeast into a virtual no-go area.

“There is no humanitarian assistance there. It’s not even half, it’s nothing, because it was just not possible for humanitarians to stay there,” coordinator Najat Rochdi said. “We started already seeing children dying from severe malnutrition.”

Lack of funds had already forced aid workers to halve food aid and in some places stop it completely, despite widespread malnutrition in children under five-years-old.

“What I heard -– but we have not been able to confirm it — is that so far we had 10 kids who died from malnutrition. But as long as we don’t have humanitarians going there, it’s very difficult for us to confirm that,” Rochdi said.

The violence is often ethnically based and tinged with suspicions of witchcraft. The latest U.N. humanitarian report said four children had been abducted and killed in the town of Bambari, their bodies found with their organs removed.

In the town of Kembe, about 40 people were reportedly killed or wounded in a clash between armed groups on Oct. 10, it said.

The number of displaced people has jumped by 50 percent to 600,000 this year, in addition to 500,000 who have fled into neighbouring countries. Rochdi said 400,000 children were not going to school.

Overcrowded camps averaging 30,000 displaced people are fertile recruiting grounds for armed groups, so the United Nations is trying to clear out weapons and fighters and get people back home wherever possible.

The U.N. peacekeeping force is only 11,600 strong, in a country the size of France and Belgium combined, and the government is struggling to create an army that can hold territory against marauding gunmen.

The United States and Uganda withdrew their forces after declaring victory in April against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a marauding gang notorious for abducting and recruiting child soldiers.

Rochdi said their withdrawal “left a vacuum” and LRA attacks had continued sporadically.

Tuesday 17 October 2017 20:49

REUTERS

Car bombs kill at least 22 in Mogadishu
14 October 2017, 7:04 PM

Two car bombs in separate parts of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu killed at least 22 people on Saturday and injured several others, police said.

The first explosion – in the city’s K5 Junction area which is lined with government offices, hotels, and restaurants -destroyed several buildings and set dozens of vehicles on fire.

“We know that at least 20 civilians are dead while dozens of others are wounded,” said Abdullahi Nur, a police officer who was in the area.

“The death toll will surely rise. We are still busy transporting casualties,” he said, adding that there were bodies under the rubble.
About two hours later, a second blast took place in the city’s Madina district.

“It was a car bomb. Two civilians were killed, ” SiyadFarah, a police major, told Reuters, adding that a suspect had been caught on suspicion of planting explosives.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the Islamist al Shabaab group has carried out regular attacks. The al Qaeda-allied group is waging an insurgency to topple the weak U.N.-backed government and its African Union allies and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.

They frequently launch gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government, though in recent years the militants have lost most territory under their control to African Union peacekeepers and government troops.

– By REUTERS

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