UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs, Thursday 18 November
KENYA: "Stranded" refugees back in Ethiopian camps ETHIOPIA: Kenyans reportedly cross border in search of food ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Security Council urges "maximum restraint" ETHIOPIA: First death sentences in Dergue trial ETHIOPIA: Food security remains precarious ETHIOPIA: Over 200,000 drought victims receive food aid ETHIOPIA: Governments lifts ban on 37 local NGOs ETHIOPIA: WFP working to boost capacity at Djibouti port ETHIOPIA-DJIBOUTI: Rail services resume after bomb blast ERITREA: Official dismisses Djibouti President's remarks ERITREA: Over 600 deportees arrive home SOMALIA: MSF pulls out of Galkayo SOMALIA: Some 600,000 will require emergency food SOMALIA: Five people killed in Mogadishu SOMALIA: Sharia courts pass sentences in Merka
KENYA: "Stranded" refugees back in Ethiopian camps
Kenyan refugees who were denied entry by the Kenyan government have been returned to their camps in Ethiopia, UNHCR spokesman Paul Stromberg told IRIN on Wednesday. The Kenyan authorities claim the refugees are not Kenyan. Stromberg said the refugees returned on 4 November, contrary to press reports alleging the refugees were "stranded" at the border and had appealed to the agency to relocate them. "We have received no request from the refugees for resettlement, these are Kenyan refugees," he said. "We are waiting for a meeting with the government to iron things out."
ETHIOPIA: Kenyans reportedly cross border in search of food
Some 5,000 Kenyans have reportedly crossed into Ethiopia in search of food, the 'Daily Nation' newspaper reported on Wednesday. It said a two-year drought had forced residents of Kibish district, in northwestern Turkana on the Kenya-Ethiopia border, to abandon their homes with their cattle and cross in search of water and food. The Kenyan Catholic Justice and Peace Commission meanwhile reported the sale of maize, meant for drought victims, by a government official in Lodwar, who was subsequently arrested. Government officials contacted by IRIN on Wednesday said they had "no official communication" on the migrants.
ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Security Council urges "maximum restraint"
The UN Security Council last week called on Ethiopia and Eritrea to use "maximum restraint" in their conflict and voiced concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation. In a statement, the Council urged the international community to respond generously to the consolidated inter-agency appeals for both countries. It also commended the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and its officials as well as the Algerian presidential envoy for their "energetic and persistent efforts" to secure an agreement between the two countries.
ETHIOPIA: First death sentences in Dergue trial
Two people have been sentenced to death for their part in the "Red Terror" campaign by the Federal High Court in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian news agency reported on Wednesday. The first sentence was passed against Lieutenant Getachew Tekeba, found guilty of ordering the deaths of five people. The second sentence, against Lieutenant Kebede Kibret, was passed in absentia, after he was found guilty of ordering the deaths of 17 people.
ETHIOPIA: Food security remains precarious
The number of people in need of food aid in Ethiopia has been revised from the previous estimate of 5.6 million to about 6.8 million for November and about 4.6 million for December, USAID's Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) said in its October update. Humanitarian agencies found that several factors had contributed to the November increase. These included escalating prices for cereals and other foodstuffs, placing these commodities beyond the reach of some people, lack of coping mechanisms and poor prospects for the upcoming meher (main season) harvest. The report also said pastoral areas were already experiencing food insecurity due to past seasons of poor rains. "Should the rains be poor as forecasted, there may be significant increases in food aid needs for the pastoral population," it warned.
ETHIOPIA: Over 200,000 drought victims receive food aid
Over 200,000 drought victims in Borena zone of Oromiya State in southern Ethiopia received some 60,000 quintals of relief food, the Walta Information Centre (WIC) reported. It quoted the head of the zonal Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Department (DPPD), Niftalem Kumera, as saying on Monday that most of the relief was distributed through the food-for-work programme. The area is one of the hardest drought-hit areas in Ethiopia.
ETHIOPIA: Governments lifts ban on 37 local NGOs
The Ethiopian government on Tuesday lifted a ban on some 37 local NGOs out of 87 humanitarian organisations whose activities had been suspended for some time for "failure to live up to their mandate," the Walta Information Centre reported. The head of the foreign relations and development cooperation bureau, Tilahun Tefera, told WIC that although the contributions of the organisations to social development were "praiseworthy", some of the organisations had been operating "outside the law" and their activities had to be suspended and subjected to re-evaluation. He further explained that the major weaknesses of the NGOs included working outside their contracts, unnecessary administrative expenditures and starting more projects before finishing those already launched.
ETHIOPIA: WFP working to boost capacity at Djibouti port
WFP is currently working to increase off-loading capacity at Djibouti port which could face "significant congestion" with the anticipated substantial increases in the amount of food aid due to arrive in the coming months. A WFP official in Addis Ababa told IRIN on Wednesday the agency had initiated a special operation to clear up and expand the port to enable it to function more efficiently. She said WFP was seeking some US $2.5 million for the project. "WFP intends to build weigh bridges in the port," she said. "We are hoping to strengthen the administrative unit so that the port can work 24 hours a day." WFP has also identified other options of using Port Sudan in Sudan or Berbera in Somaliland. The European Union has successfully tested the possibility of using the port of Berbera with a food aid shipment.
ETHIOPIA-DJIBOUTI: Rail services resume after bomb blast
An official from the Dire Dawa branch office on the Ethio-Djibouti railway said the rail services resumed on Monday after days of interruption due to a landmine blast on the line on Saturday, Ethiopian radio reported. Two people were killed in the incident, which the radio blamed on "terrorists".
ERITREA: Official dismisses Djibouti President's remarks
Eritrea on Tuesday rejected comments by Djibouti that ties between the two countries were worsening. The Eritrean embassy spokesman in Nairobi Kidane Woldeyesus said his government had "no wars" with Djibouti and described the comments in a BBC interview by Djibouti President Ismael Omar Gelleh as a "way of trying to demonise" Eritrea. Kidane told IRIN that Djibouti was "making noises", yet Eritrea had "no border conflicts, political or economic quarrels" with its neighbour. In the interview, President Guelleh accused Eritrea of supporting Djiboutian rebels and said the two countries were "almost in a state of war". [For further information, see separate IRIN report of 12 November, entitled: "Djibouti: IRIN Focus on mounting tension with Eritrea] http://www.reliefweb.int/IRIN/cea/countrystories/djibouti/19991112.htm
ERITREA: Over 600 deportees arrive home
More than 600 Eritreans, deported from Ethiopia last week, arrived in western Eritrea through the Mereb-Setit front on Monday after a six-day journey, the Eritrean News Agency (ERINA) reported. It quoted the returnees as saying the situation of Eritreans in Addis Ababa remained "desperate". Eritrean spokesman Kidane Woldeyesus told IRIN the deportation of Eritreans from Ethiopia in this was had become a "tradition". "The civilians are brutalised," he said. "Their assets are frozen, property and houses confiscated or burnt down and yet the international community has not condemned this."
SOMALIA: MSF pulls out of Galkayo
Medecins sans frontieres (MSF) has temporarily evacuated its mission in Galkayo after an armed robbery there last Thursday. According to an MSF press release, three men armed with assault rifles and hand grenades entered the compound and made off with the contents of the safe, after forcing staff at gunpoint to open it.
SOMALIA: Some 600,000 will require emergency food
About 600,000 people in nine regions of southern and central Somalia will require about 18,000 mt of emergency food aid during the period September to December 1999, the Somalia Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) reported. The figure represents 18 percent of the region's total population, excluding Mogadishu, with over half of those requiring assistance in the Bay and Bakool regions. FSAU said that non-emergency food aid for rehabilitation and institutional support may fill some of the shortfalls. "There is concern, however, about whether non-emergency food aid will reach those most in need of assistance," it added.
SOMALIA: Five people killed in Mogadishu
Five people were reportedly killed and several injured on Monday when militiamen attacked business people in Manabolio market, north Mogadishu. The 'Qaran' newspaper said two of the victims were shot dead "intentionally" while others were killed by stray bullets.
Meanwhile, the UN Country Team (UNCT) for Somalia said in a recent update that banditry continues to be a problem in Mogadishu, but less so than in previous weeks. UNCT also warned that tension remains high in Kismayo.
SOMALIA: Sharia courts pass sentences in Merka
The sharia courts, set up to establish law and order in Merka area, recently said they had tried some 88 bandits and sentenced 66 of them to jail terms ranging between three months to one year, UNCT reported. They courts said they would embark on a substantive rehabilitation campaign for these prisoners.
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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D
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