Sole survivor tells of tragic incident off #Libya’s coast, 55 lives lost

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A year and a few months after the “left-to-die boat” case lead to international indignation, another dramatically similar incident reveals how, despite the changed geopolitical situation, migrants keep dying in the Mediterranean sea in appalling conditions.
Last year, in March 2011, 63 people who had left Tripoli in the attempt to reach the Southern shores of Italy, died after drifting for 14 days at sea. This incident occurred during the international military intervention in Libya and as such in meticulously surveyed waters. Several damning reports were released on the failures of a series of actors and a legal case was filed in France for non-assistance. Now, despite the fall of the Gaddafi regime and the end of the international intervention in Libya, Boats4People has learned during an interview conducted this morning in Zarzis, Southern Tunisia, about another tragic case that shows once again the dramatic effects of the European migration regime.
Abbas, an Eritrean national who is the only survivor of this incident, was found on Tuesday at 14:30 by a Tunisian fisherman 35 miles off the coasts of Zarzis. He was hanging onto the remains of the rubber dinghy with which he had left Tripoli around 14 days earlier with 56 people on board (20 Somalians, 2 Sudanese and 34 Eritreans), among which his older brother and two sisters. After approximately 26 hours of navigation, the boat, which was in very bad conditions, capsized and only Abbas managed to hold onto the boat, whose engine was nevertheless damaged after falling into the water. He drifted alone for fourteen days in the open sea, occasionally sighting in the distance other vessels. After finally rescued by a Tunisian fisherman yesterday, a patrol boat of the Tunisian “Garde National Maritime” was sent out and took him onboard at 15:30. He was brought to the hospital in Zarzis, where he received treatment for dehydration and extreme exhaustion.
Boats4People denounces once again the policy of border closure that oblige migrants to resort to dangerous means to cross the Mediterranean as well as the criminalization of assistance to migrants in distress at sea, which have de facto transformed the Mediterranean in a cemetery.
In collaboration with researchers of the Forensic Oceanography project at Goldsmiths College, Boats4People will keep inquiring to determine if any measure could have been taken to avert the tragic fate of the passengers of this boat.
Boats 4 People says a video of the interview will soon be made available, and offers more information on the incident, via near-real-time mapping platform WatchTheMed: https://watchthemed.crowdmap.com/reports/view/23

WatchTheMed

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This Week in Corruption – Oxford University Press and World Bank education projects in Africa

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Children in a classroom in Kenya. Two Oxford press units have been debarred for bribing government officials to win tenders and contracts for World Bank-financed education projects in East Africa. Photo by: Curt Carnemark / World Bank / CC BY-NC

Oxford University Press has acknowledged the “misconduct” of its two subsidiaries that bribed government officials to win tenders and contracts to supply text books to two World Bank-financed education projects in East Africa, according to a press release.

World Bank debarred Oxford University Press East Africa Ltd. and Oxford University Press Tanzania Tuesday (July 3) following OUP’s acknowledgment. This means both units will not be eligible for World Bank-financed projects for three years. They are also in danger of being blacklisted by other multilateral development banks under a 2010 cross-debarment agreement.

The publishing company, meanwhile, has decided to contribute 2 million pounds ($3.13 million) for teacher training and other education-related programs in sub-Saharan Africa, apart from agreeing to pay the World Bank $500,000 for its subsidiaries’ misdeeds.

The two subsidiaries operate in Kenya, Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda, Reuters reports. Oxford Publishing Ltd., OUP’s publishing arm, has also agreed to pay the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office 1.9 million pounds in relation to the case.

Apart from the payments, OUP will take “disciplinary action” against those involved, according to a press release.

This is not the first time a publishing company has been subjected to debarment by the World Bank. In 2010, the bank also debarred Macmillan Ltd. after the U.K. publishing group admitted to engaging in bribery in an education project funded through the Sudan Multidonor Trust Fund. The World Bank manages the trust fund.

Read more:

devex.

Mysterious kidnapping of Chinese workers in Sudan; some rescued

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14 kidnapped Chinese workers rescued..

Rebels in Sudan claimed they held 29 Chinese workers following an firefight with Sudanese armed forces. [File photo]

Rebels in Sudan claimed they held 29 Chinese workers following an firefight with Sudanese armed forces. [File photo]

The Sudanese armed forces and security authorities have rescued 14 of 29 Chinese construction workers held by rebels at the border state of South Kordofan, Sudan News Agency reported.

The rescued workers are in good condition and have not suffered injuries, said Ahmed Haroun, governor of South Kordofan.

There is no information on the conditions of the other 15 workers still held by the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N).

Source

Sudan rebels attacks Chinese company, 29 Chinese workers captured

South Sudan Rebels

Rebels in Sudan’s South Kordofan state have captured 29 Chinese workers after a battle with government forces, a spokesman for the insurgents said on Sunday.

Nine members of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) were also being held, Arnu Ngutulu Lodi of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), told AFP.

“Yes, we have captured them,” he said. “I want to assure you right now they are in safe hands.”

He said the Chinese have not been kidnapped and none was wounded.

They, along with the Sudanese, were captured on Saturday when the rebels destroyed a Sudanese military convoy between Rashad town and Al-Abbasiya in the northeast of the province, which has been at war since June.

Lodi said the Chinese were working mainly on road construction in the area.

They are being held in the Nuba mountains “until further notice” because of the security situation.

“Today is a little bit calm but we are expecting at any time SAF may launch an attack on us,” he said.

Spokesmen for the Sudanese army and the Chinese embassy could not be immediately reached for comment by AFP.

But the embassy told China’s official Xinhua news agency that more than 20 Chinese nationals were missing after a rebel attack on the camp of a Chinese company.

Xinhua quoted an official as saying the embassy “has started implementation of the emergency mechanism to follow up the issue” and contact Sudanese authorities.

China is a major military supplier to the regime in Khartoum, and the largest buyer of Sudanese oil.

There is growing international concern over the situation in South Kordofan and nearby Blue Nile state, where a similar conflict broke out in September. The government is fighting ethnic minority insurgents once allied to the former rebels who now rule South Sudan.

The South gained independence from Khartoum last July after decades of civil war.

Food shortages would become critical without substantial aid deliveries into South Kordofan and Blue Nile by March, the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, has said.

Khartoum has severely restricted the work of foreign relief agencies in the war zones.

It cited security concerns and also accused aid workers of using United Nations flights to deliver arms and ammunition to the rebels — a claim for which the UN’s top humanitarian official said there was “no evidence.”

Princeton Lyman, the US administration’s special envoy for Sudan, told reporters last week the situation is so dire Washington has warned Khartoum it would consider ways for aid to be sent in without Sudanese government approval.

Source

‘Alarming malnutrition’ in Sudanese conflict zones: UN official

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  Jan 4, 2012 – 3:43 PM ET

U.N. Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos speaks during a joint news conference with Sudanese Social Welfare Minister Amira al-Fadel Mohamed (not pictured) in Khartoum January 4, 2012 - REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

KHARTOUM — The United Nations has received alarming reports of malnutrition in two Sudanese border states where the army is fighting insurgents, a senior UN official said on Wednesday.

Fighting broke out in June between the Sudanese army and SPLM-North rebels in South Kordofan and spread in September to the state of Blue Nile. Both states border newly independent South Sudan.

The violence has already forced about 417,000 people to flee their homes, more than 80,000 of them to South Sudan, the United Nations estimates. Locals have faced air raids and sporadic ground fighting, according to rights groups and refugees.

“I received alarming reports with respect to malnutrition and the food situation, particular in areas that are controlled by SPLM-North,” Valerie Amos, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, told reporters in Khartoum.

She urged Sudan to lift a ban on international UN staff traveling to both border states.

Since the outbreak of fighting UN agencies and aid groups have only been able to keep small teams of local staff on the ground and the government has stopped any aid workers visiting areas where there has been fighting.

“We need to ensure that the UN capacity, which is there to support government efforts, is made up of a mix of UN staff, national and international, to make sure we have the right skill set of support,” Amos said after talks with Sudanese officials.

Social and Welfare Minister Amira Fadhil told journalists the ban was there to protect foreign workers and would stay in place.

“We fear for the security of foreigners. That’s why we think the presence of a Sudanese organization makes sense. But we want to grant access as soon as possible,” she added.

South Sudan declared independence in July, under the terms of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with the Khartoum government.

Both Blue Nile and South Kordofan contain groups who sided with the south in the civil war and say they continue to face persecution inside Sudan.

SPLM-N is one of a groups of rebel movements in underdeveloped border areas who say they are fighting to overthrow Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and end what they see as the dominance of the Khartoum political elite.

Sudan and South Sudan, who still have to resolve a range of issues including the sharing of oil revenues, regularly trade accusations of supporting insurgencies on each other’s territory.

Their armed forces clashed at Jau in a region claimed by both sides last month in a rare direct confrontation.

Reuters >>