Foreign News

 
 
 

At least 26 dead as gunmen storm Somali hotel

 

BY BBC

At least 26 people, including a prominent journalist and several foreigners, have been killed in an attack on a hotel in southern Somalia.

A suicide bomber rammed a car containing explosives into the Asasey hotel in the port of Kismayo, and gunmen then stormed the building

Journalist Hodan Naleyah and her husband are thought to be among the dead.

Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed the attack.

A local politician, three Kenyans, three Tanzanians, two Americans and and one Briton were also killed, authorities say.

"There is chaos inside, I saw several dead bodies carried from the scene and people are fleeing from the nearby buildings," one witness, Hussein Muktar, said during the attack.

It took several hours for authorities to regain control over the hotel.

Regional President Ahmed Mohamed put the death toll at 26 with more than 50 people wounded. Four attackers were also killed in the raid.

Who were the victims?

Local media and a Somali journalists' association said Nalayeh, 43, and her husband Farid were among the dead.

Nalayeh founded the media platform Integration TV to tell stories about life in Somalia and in the Somali diaspora. Recent episodes had focused on Somalia's female entrepreneurs and things to do in the city of Las Anod.

She moved to Canada with her family when she was six years old and went on to become a figurehead of the Somali community there. But the mother of two had recently returned to Somalia.

Tributes have been paid to her, with BBC journalist Farhan Jimale calling her "a beautiful soul" while Canada's immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said she was a "voice for many".

The Somali Journalists Syndicate said that Nalayeh and another reporter also killed in Kismayo, Mohamed Omar Sahal, were the first journalists to be killed in the country this year.

 
 

Zimbabwe hikes fuel price again after minister's statement

 
 
 

 

HARARE (Reuters)

Zimbabwe’s energy regulator has raised petrol and diesel prices by up to 16%, the fourth increase this year, after the finance minister said fuel was considerably cheaper than in neighbouring countries.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced the biggest fuel price hike in January, a 150% increase, which sparked deadly protests by financially struggling Zimbabweans that left more than a dozen people dead after an army clampdown.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority said late on Friday that effective Saturday, petrol would cost 6.10 Zimbabwe dollars ($0.70) a liter, up from 5.26, while the price of diesel had been increased 13% to 5.84 Zimbabwe dollars.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube was quoted in a daily newspaper on Thursday as saying he would be happy if the price of fuel was equivalent to $1 per liter.

While Ncube wants fuel prices to reflect import costs, many Zimbabweans can barely afford to pay them when the unemployment exceeds 80% and the entry-level wage for a government employee is about $49 a month - enough to buy a car tyre.

But with no sign of an end to rolling power cuts in the southern African country, demand for fuel has risen as businesses resort to more expensive diesel-powered generators.

Analysts say this is increasing the price of doing business, with companies likely to pass the cost to consumers, who are already grappling with inflation of nearly 100%.

There were long queues at service stations selling fuel early on Saturday.

Hopes that living standards would soon improve under Mnangagwa, who came to power after Robert Mugabe was removed in a coup in 2017, have not been realised. Instead, Zimbabweans are frustrated by daily power outages lasting up to 17 hours and severe shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel, bread, and medicines.

$1 = 8.75 Zimbabwe dollars

 
 

Ebola outbreak spreading faster than ever in Congo

 
 
 

 

CAIRO (Reuters)

More migrants have been moved to a detention centre in Libya’s capital where an air strike killed more than 50 people last week, despite a risk it could be hit again which led to survivors being evacuated, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said on Friday.

Around 95 migrants were moved to the Tajoura centre in Tripoli on Thursday, some rounded up in the local community and others transferred from another detention centre in the city, the aid group said.

Earlier in the week migrants left at the centre after the July 3 bombing - some of whom were sleeping in the open for fear of another strike - were either released or evacuated, following appeals from the United Nations.

An official at the Tajoura centre who asked not to be named said that following the evacuations, “we have resumed work and started receiving more (migrants)”. He declined to give more details.

The centre was hit as forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar intensified their efforts to wrest control of Tripoli from forces aligned with the internationally recognised government, which is based in the capital.

The fighting is the latest escalation in a conflict that developed after former leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

People smugglers exploited the turmoil to send hundreds of thousands of migrants on dangerous journeys across the central Mediterranean, though the number of crossings dropped sharply from 2017 amid an EU-backed push to block departures.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive on Tripoli in early April, which soon stalled. The fighting has left more than 1,000 dead, including more than 100 civilians, according to the World Health Organization.

Migrant detention centres are nominally under the government but often controlled by armed groups. Aid workers and rights groups say abuse including beating and forced labour is rife, and have long appealed for their closure.

But the centres have continued to operate, repeatedly caught in the crossfire of fighting whilst receiving new arrivals from boats intercepted by Libya’s EU-backed coastguard. The Tajoura centre, which is next to a military camp, was also hit by a projectile in May.

The United Nations said last week it had information that guards had shot at migrants at Tajoura as they tried to flee the air strike. The interior ministry in Tripoli denied the report.

This week, 419 migrants, including around 90 who had just been intercepted at sea, left the Tajoura centre for a facility run by the U.N. refugee agency. It tries to evacuate refugees and asylum seekers from Libya, though the process is slow.

Sam Turner, MSF’s Libya head of mission, said it was an “outstanding contradiction” for migrants to be released from the centre in recognition that it was not safe, only for more to be brought in days later.

“The Tajoura detention centre does pose a very high risk of being targeted as part of the wider conflict, in addition to the risks that refugees and migrants are exposed to by the conflict in general and by the conditions of detention,” he said.

 
 

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