Eight migrants found dead in lorry container in western Libya

3 hours 11 minutes ago

Eight migrants including six children were found dead on Monday after suffocating from petrol fumes while packed into a lorry container on the west Libyan coast, authorities said.

Another 90 migrants recovered from the container were in critical condition and had been taken to a local hospital for treatment, the security directorate in the town of Zuwara said in a statement.

Zuwara is one of the points along Libya’s western coastline where smugglers and traffickers hold migrants before putting them on boats to try to cross to Europe.

The migrants were from various sub-Saharan African and Arab countries, as well as Pakistan and Bangladesh, the statement said. They had been shut inside a refrigerated container designed for transporting meat or fish which was found just outside Zuwara, close to the Mellitah oil and gas complex.

Zuwara is about 110km (68 miles) from the capital, Tripoli.

“As a result of the length of time they were suffocated, eight of them died including six children, one woman and a young man,” the security directorate said, adding that gallons of petrol had been found in the container.

It posted pictures of at least nine plastic jerry cans inside the container, as well as a pile of life-jackets apparently intended for use in a boat crossing.

Daytime temperatures in northwest Libya have been in the mid to high 30s Celsius in recent days.

Smugglers and traffickers took advantage of Libya’s lawlessness to send hundreds of thousands of migrants to Italy over the past four years, though flows have slowed since last summer due to an Italian-backed crackdown on smuggling networks.



Gunmen kill 14 civilians in northeastern Mali

3 hours 36 minutes ago

Gunmen shot dead 14 civilians in an attack on a village in northeastern Mali, a local official said on Monday, amid a spate of killings by rival ethnic groups and jihadist militants that threatens to derail a presidential election later this month.

Nanou Kotia, the mayor of the regional hub of Menaka, said the attack had occurred on Sunday in a remote village 55 km (30 miles) away, near the border with Niger.

“The assailants came and opened fire on people. According to our information, there were 14 people killed, all civilians, and one truck and three other vehicles were burned,” he told Reuters by telephone.

The mayor did not say who he believed was responsible for the attack. Previous killings have been carried out by Islamist militants active in the area as well as by fighters from ethnic militia.

A statement by the Tuareg militia Gatia said the assailants belonged to a criminal gang operating along the Niger border and had targeted Tuareg civilians in the village of Injagalane.

Suspected jihadists killed more than 50 Tuareg civilians during similar village raids near Menaka in April and May, seeking to exploit ethnic tensions between mostly lighter-skinned Tuareg pastoralists and black Fulani herdsmen.

The violence in Mali, which is also used by jihadist groups as a launch pad for attacks into neighbouring countries, worries Western powers such as France and the United States, which have deployed thousands of troops to the semi-arid Sahel region.

Malians are due to vote in a presidential election in less than two weeks. The poll is meant to chart a way out of six years of political unrest and jihadist violence but the situation has only grown more volatile in recent months.

The jihadists – some with links to al Qaeda – first seized control over Mali’s desert north in 2012 before being pushed back by a French-led intervention. But they have since regrouped and now regularly attack Malian and international forces.



Obama end 2-day visit to Kenya, calls for political unity in the country

4 hours 14 minutes ago

Former U.S. President Barack Obama urged Kenya’s leaders on Monday to turn their backs on the divisive ethnic politics that have frequently spilled over into violence and to stamp down on corruption.

Opening a school in his father’s home village of Kogelo in western Kenya, Obama praised a rapprochement between President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga but said they must do more to heal the rifts between Kenya’s 40-odd ethnic groups.

In the worst recent outbreak of ethnic conflict, 1,200 people were killed in fighting that followed disputed elections involving Odinga and Kenyatta in 2007.

“It means no longer seeing different ethnicities as enemies or rivals but rather as allies; in seeing the diversity of tribes not as a weakness but as a strength,” Obama, whose father was Kenyan, said.

America’s first black president, whose eight years in office preceded Donald Trump’s election in November 2016, was in Kenya to open the centre, which is run by his half sister Auma through her charity, the Sauti Kuu Foundation.

It was his fourth trip to Kenya. He made his first in 1987, a journey he chronicled in his book “Dreams From My Father”, followed by a 2006 visit as a senator and then in 2015 as president.

During his visit, Obama avoided any public mention of his successor and the divisive politics that have taken root in the United States since Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Obama also noted the corruption scandals that have blighted Kenyatta’s administration, saying graft held back economic development and undermined public faith in the government.

Kenyan media have reported dozens of graft scandals since Kenyatta was re-elected last year. In May, 54 people, mostly civil servants, were charged in an investigation into the theft of nearly $100 million of public funds from the state-run National Youth Service.

After Kenya, Obama will travel to South Africa, where he will deliver a speech marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.


3 minutes 9 seconds ago
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