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Saudi border guards kill hundreds of Ethiopian migrants – Human Rights Watch

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Saudi border guards fired “like rain” on Ethiopian migrants trying to cross through Yemen into the Gulf kingdom, killing hundreds since last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report Monday.

The allegations, described as “unfounded” by a Saudi government source, point to a significant escalation of abuses along the perilous “Eastern Route” from the Horn of Africa to Saudi Arabia, where hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians live and work.

“Saudi officials are killing hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers in this remote border area out of view of the rest of the world,” HRW researcher Nadia Hardman said in a statement.

“Spending billions buying up professional golf, football clubs, and major entertainment events to improve the Saudi image should not deflect attention from these horrendous crimes.”

A Saudi government source told AFP: “The allegations included in the Human Rights Watch report about Saudi border guards shooting Ethiopians while they were crossing the Saudi-Yemeni border are unfounded and not based on reliable sources.”

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The New York-based group has documented abuses against Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia and Yemen for nearly a decade, but the latest killings appear to be “widespread and systematic” and may amount to crimes against humanity, it said.

Last year, UN experts reported “concerning allegations” that “cross-border artillery shelling and small-arms fire by Saudi Arabia security forces killed approximately 430 migrants” in southern Saudi Arabia and northern Yemen during the first four months of 2022.

The HRW report said there was no response to letters it sent to the Saudi interior and defence ministries, the human rights commission and Huthi rebels who control northern Yemen.

In 2015, Saudi officials mobilised a military coalition in an effort to stop the advance of the Iran-backed Huthis, who had seized the Yemeni capital Sanaa from the internationally recognised government the previous year.

Yemen’s war has created what the United Nations describes as one of the world’s worst humanitarian situations.

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But many of the abuses described by HRW would have occurred during a truce that took effect in April 2022 and has largely held despite officially expiring last October.

Close-Range Shooting
The HRW report draws from interviews with 38 Ethiopian migrants who tried to cross into Saudi Arabia from Yemen, as well as from satellite imagery and videos and photos posted to social media “or gathered from other sources”.

Interviewees described 28 “explosive weapons incidents” including attacks by mortar projectiles, the report said.

Some survivors described attacks at close range, with Saudi border guards asking Ethiopians “in which limb of their body they would prefer to be shot”, the report said.

“All interviewees described scenes of horror: women, men, and children strewn across the mountainous landscape severely injured, dismembered, or already dead,” it said.

One 20-year-old woman from Ethiopia’s Oromia region said Saudi border guards fired on a group of migrants they had just released from custody.

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“They fired on us like rain. When I remember, I cry,” she said.

“I saw a guy calling for help, he lost both his legs. He was screaming; he was saying, ‘Are you leaving me here? Please don’t leave me’. We couldn’t help him because we were running for our lives.”

HRW called on Riyadh to “immediately and urgently revoke” any policy of using lethal force on migrants and asylum seekers and urged the UN to investigate the alleged killings.

AFP

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Cholera outbreak: Death toll rises to 24 in Lagos, suspected cases now 417

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The death toll resulting from the outbreak of cholera in Lagos State has risen to 24 from 21 earlier reported.

 

An update by the Lagos State Government on Friday indicated that a total of 24 persons have lost their lives to the disease as of June 19, 2024.

 

The report also said while a total of 417 suspected cases have been recorded only 35 cases have been confirmed so far across the 20 local government council areas in the state.

 

As of Thursday, the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Kemi Ogunyemi, said that the number of recorded fatalities rose to 21 from 15. She also reported 350 suspected cases.

 

According to her, Lagos Island, Kosofe, and Eti Osa recorded the highest numbers.

 

Ogunyemi, while providing an update on the outbreak after meeting with members of the Lagos State Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) attributed the rise in cases to the Ileya festivities during which large gatherings occurred.

 

She, however, noted that suspected cases were subsiding across LGAs particularly in previously affected LGAs due to state government interventions and surveillance efforts.

 

The special adviser stated that the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Health and other sister agencies, was maintaining rigorous surveillance and monitoring of the situation and implementing planned programs and activities to curb the spread.

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“The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Environment and its agency, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), continues to collect samples of water sources, food, and beverages to identify the source of contamination. We have also intensified our surveillance activities in communities, particularly in affected local government areas, to address the situation head-on.

 

“We are also working with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education as well as the Ministry of Tertiary Education to ensure all precautions are taken in our schools to protect children and scholars as they return. Residents must, however, remain vigilant, practice good hand hygiene, and participate in community sanitation activities to stop the spread of cholera,” the Special Adviser stated.

 

She advised that citizens seek medical attention immediately if they experience symptoms such as watery diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, general malaise, and fever, stressing that cholera treatment is provided free of charge at all public health facilities.

 

While noting that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu remains committed to ensuring that residents of Lagos receive quality and affordable health care, the special adviser extended the gratitude of the state government to local, national, and international partners—including UNICEF, WHO, NCDC, NIMR, Red Cross, and others —for their support in combating the outbreak.

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“Appreciation is also extended to the dedicated team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab scientists, environmental health officers, Water Corporation officers, surveillance officers, heads of agencies, members of PHEOC, and volunteers who are working around the clock to combat the disease and keep Lagos safe,” Ogunyemi said.

 

The Ogun State Government has also confirmed the outbreak of the disease which has claimed the life of a 62-year-old woman, and five persons hospitalised, according to the state’s Commissioner for Health, Tomi Coker.

 

Global Death Toll
Sadly, the World Health Organization (WHO) also confirmed a cumulative death of 194, 897 deaths and 1,932 cases globally as a result of a cholera outbreak.

 

A statement by the health organisation’s Eastern Mediterranean Region said the outbreaks were recorded from the 1st of January, 2024 to the 26th of May, 2024.

 

The cases were reported from 24 countries across five WHO regions with the Eastern Mediterranean Region recording the highest numbers followed by the African Region, the Region of the Americas, the South-East Asia Region, and the European Region.

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No outbreaks were reported in the Western Pacific Region during this time.

 

“The global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV) was depleted until early March but exceeded the emergency target of 5 million doses in early June for the first time in 2024. As of 10 June 2024, the stockpile has 6.2 million doses. However, demand for the vaccine continues to outpace supply. Since January 2023, 92 million OCV doses were requested by 16 countries, nearly double the 49 million doses produced during this period,” it said.

 

By March, the UN health agency said it exhausted its global stockpile of Oral Cholera Vaccines (OCV). Still, it was able to exceed “the emergency target of five million doses in early June for the first time in 2024”.

 

WHO reported that 16 countries requested 92 million doses of OCV since January last year – almost double the 49 million produced during that time.

 

It said it was working with other partners such as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and others, to use resources to find long-term solutions for cholera.

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Cholera outbreak: Lagos LGA suspends school food vendors

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The Agege LGA in Lagos has suspended food vendors in schools under the council as part of measures to curb the spread of the cholera outbreak in the state.

 

On June 11, Akin Abayomi, Lagos commissioner for health, said five people died while about 60 residents were hospitalised as a result of a suspected cholera outbreak in some parts of the city.

 

On June 15, the commissioner confirmed the cholera outbreak, noting that there have been 350 suspected cases, out of which 17 have been confirmed cases, with 15 fatalities.

 

As of Thursday, the number of cholera-related deaths in the state had risen to 24.

 

Ganiyu Egunjobi, chairman of Agege LGA, said the council has embarked on rigorous sensitisation to prevent the spread of the disease.

 

Egunjobi noted that market stakeholders and schools have also been sensitised over the radio on precautionary measures to ensure the disease is prevented in the community.

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“We have suspended all school food vendors to ensure the safety of the pupils and students,” he said.

 

“We have informed both the pupils and students on radio stations to come with their foods to ensure their safety from the cholera disease.

 

“This development will allow us to detect and prevent outbreaks in our community. We are working tirelessly to prevent the menace of cholera outbreaks in our community.

 

“We are using various means to talk to our people, through landlord associations and others, to caution them on ensuring hygiene in preparing foods and drinks.

 

“We urge residents to acquaint themselves with precautionary measures against the deadly cholera disease outbreak.”

 

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Good Morning! Here Are Some Major News Headlines In The Newspapers Today: Constables’ Recruitment: Police Intimidating Us, PSC Cries Out

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1. The authorities of the Police Service Commission, PSC, on Friday, raised the alarm that the police high command is intimidating the agency over the ongoing issues regarding the recruitment of police constables.

 

2. Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has removed Chidi Awuse as Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers. Awuse, an ally of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Nyesom Wike, was replaced with the traditional ruler of Apara Kingdom, Eze Chike Worlu Wodo.

 

3. Amid persistent high cost of goods and services, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso assured yesterday that inflation will subside in the months ahead. At a meeting with leaders of the organised private sector, the CBN governor said there were positive developments in the fight against the economic challenges.

 

4. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, on Friday announced the approval of N21 billion for 11 electricity Distribution Companies, DisCos, to provide meters for end-use customers. This was contained in its ORDER NO: NERC/2024/072 on The Operationalization of “Tranche A” of the Presidential Metering Initiative Under the Framework of Meter Acquisition Fund.

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5. Chairman of the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr Tola Alabere, has said that the loss of the November governorship election would end the existence of the party in the state. Alabere stated that the majority of members might not remain in the party if the ruling All Progressives Congress emerged victorious.

 

6. An officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, whose name could not be immediately ascertained, was on Friday injured by a driver along Osogbo/Gbongan Road, near Osun Government Secretariat in Abere. The driver was said to be driving at top speed when FRSC officers at a roadblock near the Osun Sector Headquarters located along the expressway, waved him to stop.

 

7. There was palpable tension in Ojurowo, Folumo in the Isale Eko area of Lagos Island, Lagos State, on Friday after members of the public caught an unidentified woman for kidnapping and selling children. It was learnt that the woman had kidnapped the children from the Ijora area of the state and brought them to Isale Eko to sell them.

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8. The Bauchi State Police Command on Friday urged for calm following the lynching of a man alleged to be an advocate of a religious movement. The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ahmed Wakil, on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Auwal Musa, confirmed that the incident happened on Wednesday.

 

9. The death toll from the cholera outbreak in Lagos State has risen to 24 with 35 confirmed cases, even as 417 suspected cases have been confirmed in 20 local government areas of the state. The State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi, who confirmed the development on his X handle on Friday, said the update was from the Lagos State Cholera Outbreak Situation Report.

 

10. Italian football legend, Roberto Baggio has been hospitalised after being attacked by armed robbers who stormed his home. The intruders locked his family up while they watched last night’s Euro 2024 match between Italy and Spain.

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