HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs [19991104]

HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs [19991104]

HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs, Thursday 4 November


ETHIOPIA: Repatriation of Kenyan refugees suspended ETHIOPIA: Eritrea denies launching attacks ETHIOPIA: Eritrea must "go beyond talk" ETHIOPIA: WFP receives additional pledge for maize ETHIOPIA: Floods carry away 34 in east ERITREA: Isayas meets OAU delegation SOMALIA: Good prospects for food security

ETHIOPIA: Repatriation of Kenyan refugees suspended

The repatriation of some 4,700 Kenyan refugees from Ethiopia was temporarily suspended by the Kenyan government on Wednesday. The directive came after the refugees had been stranded in no-man's land between Kenya and Ethiopia for about two days. A statement from UNHCR said that the government requested the suspension citing "security concerns" and "clan conflicts" in the refugees' area of return. Kenyan television quoted Minister for State in the Office of the President Marsden Madoka as saying the refugees were denied entry after the government found out that most of them did not hold Kenyan identity cards, nor did UNHCR inform his office or make arrangements for the repatriation.

However, according to a UNHCR statement, the agency had contacted the interior ministry which, it said, had sent its officials to meet the refugees and verify their nationality. "UNHCR will make new arrangements to assist the refugees who had dismantled their shelters in camps in Moyale, Ethiopia, in readiness for their return home," the agency's statement said. "At the same time UNHCR will remain in close contact with the Kenyan government for advice on the re-commencement of the repatriation of the refugees." The refugees had sought asylum in Ethiopia in May 1993 after Kenya's first multi-party elections in December 1992 which provoked hostilities between the Somali Degodia and Ajuran clans living in the Wajir district of northern Kenya.

ETHIOPIA: Eritrea denies launching attacks

Ethiopia has claimed its troops repelled attacks launched by Eritrea near the Jerbert River in the Badme area last week. A government statement said that in two days of fighting, over 335 Eritrean soldiers were killed and some ammunition was captured. Eritrea categorically denied the allegations, accusing Ethiopia of an "utterly fictitious claim".

ETHIOPIA: Eritrea must "go beyond talk"

Ethiopia on Tuesday challenged Eritrea to "move beyond talk" and take practical steps to demonstrate its willingness to withdraw to pre-war positions, according to a government statement. Addis Ababa was reacting to a recent interview in which Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki said his country was "ready in principle" to withdraw its troops to pre-war positions.

ETHIOPIA: WFP receives additional pledge for maize

WFP's emergency operation received an additional pledge of 10,000 mt of maize from the US to assist populations displaced by the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the organisation said. It said although other commodities such as pulses, blended food, oil, salt and sugar had been fully or almost fully resourced, the total cereal commitment to this project amounted to some 20,510 mt or 56 percent of the required 36,720 mt.

ETHIOPIA: Floods carry away 34 in the east

Thirty-four people were carried away by floods from the Wabi Shabelle river in the Somali regional state of eastern Ethiopia following heavy rains, Ethiopian radio reported on Saturday. Some 700,000 people were reportedly affected and the local council appealed to the country's Disaster Prevention and Prepardness Commission (DPPC) for the dispatch of immediate relief. The DPPC said it had deployed a team that would assess and report the extent of the disaster and was awaiting a reply so as to "act accordingly". Local leaders said the waters had engulfed 43 of the 83 neighbourhoods. Hundreds of domestic animals were killed and crops, covering some 4,000 hectares, were destroyed.

ERITREA: Isayas meets OAU delegation

Eritrean President Isayas Afewerki last week held talks with an OAU delegation led by special envoy Ahmed Ouyahia, Eritrean radio reported. The envoy was in the country to discuss the technical arrangements aimed at resolving the conflict with Ethiopia. He held similar discussions with the Ethiopian authorities. Ouyahia reportedly emphasised that interpretation of the documents was the sole responsibility of the OAU.

SOMALIA: Good prospects for food security

A recent Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) noted good prospects for food security in Somaliland though "pockets of vulnerability exist". A report from FSAU noted improved conditions, especially livestock and climatic, as well as food aid and agricultural assistance being received. Food insecurity was however concentrated among the poor pastoralists in Haud areas of Sool and Toghdeer in northern Somalia, with an estimated population of 40,000-60,000. FSAU said their plight had been highlighted on several occasions but previous recommendations to support their livelihoods had not resulted in action or interventions. "Levels of chronic vulnerability have therefore been rising and have deteriorated into the acute food insecurity witnessed today," the FSAU report said.


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Item: irin-english-1912

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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