Saturday, May 18, 2013

Militia kill three civilians along Kenya-Ethiopia border- - VOA

Suspected militia from Ethiopia on Thursday night killed three local people in the latest attack since the government ordered security crackdown in the restive town of Mandera,APA reports quoting Xinhua.

Regional deputy police commander, Noor Gabow confirmed the incident on Friday, saying the armed militia attacked Malkamari village near the border with Ethiopia and shot dead two men and a woman.

"The militia crossed the border from Ethiopia and started shooting arbitrarily at the villagers and in the process killed two men and a woman. They later fled probably to Ethiopia," Gabow told Xinhua by telephone on Friday.

"We have launched investigations to establish the motive behind the attack but right now we can link it to local politics," Gabow said.

The latest killings came after Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to invest more resources in the security agencies to ensure the country is stable.

Speaking in Nairobi during a meeting with the country's top security chiefs on Thursday, Kenyatta said no effort will be spared in addressing security challenges which have engulfed the East African nation in the past three weeks.

"We will ensure police officers are sufficiently facilitated to enable them perform their duties effectively and in a dignified manner," Kenyatta said.

The Kenyan leader said he has already appointed a team tasked with the responsibility of identifying immediate priorities that need to be implemented in order to make the police service more proactive.

Criminal groups armed with crude weapons have been terrorizing residents of Bungoma and Busia counties in Western Kenya in the past two weeks, resulting into the death of over civilians.

Inter-ethnic clashes have also erupted in the northern Kenya town of Mandera which borders both Somalia and Ethiopia resulting in the death of four civilians and several injuries.

The killings have caused panic as the motive behind the arbitrary attacks is unknown. But police said investigations have been launched to establish the motive behind the attacks which has affected livelihoods and ordinary activities.

The latest killing has sparked tension which had subsided in Mandera which borders Somalia and Ethiopia following inter-tribal fighting that has claimed lives in the past two weeks.

Gabow said 18 guns and 665 rounds of ammunitions were surrendered as on Thursday in the going security operation in the clash torn Mandera County.

He said the firearms which include both heavy and light weapons were handed over to the security officers voluntarily by the warring clans of Degodia and Garre communities in bid take advantage of a government amnesty to surrender illicit firearms in the public hands.

Gabow said the firearms were surrendered by the both warring clans at their respective police station in response by the government to hand over illegal weapons in the hands of the communities living in the border County, which prone to inter-clan skirmishes'.

"People are responding well to the call by the government to surrender firearms wrongly in their hands as even as the operation to flush out armed gangs causing insecurity is underway in the County," Gabow said.

Gabow said sufficient security personnel among them the paramilitary officers and Rapid Deployment Unit (RDU) were deployed in the area to stop any further killings by the clan bandits.

Hostilities between the Garre and Degodia community have been building since the former lost their traditional Mandera central parliamentary seat to the latter in the last general election. Garre held the seat since independence.

Both Garre and Degodia have communal presence and have sophisticated armed militia in Ethiopia who has been used in clan fighting in the horn of Africa country.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Palestinians Mark 65th Anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe of 1948)

On Nakba day, Palestinians commemorate the annual anniversary by holding rallies asserting their right of return. 65 years have passed since historic Palestine was occupied in 1948 -   May 16, 13

Share to FacebookShare to Twitter

Thank you, The Real News does an excellent job - FedupwithR
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Yousef Alhelou is a Palestinian freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Gaza-Palestine. His work has been featured in a variety of media outlets including BBC, GRN, CBC radio Canada, TV New Zealand, UN observer, Press TV, Etejah TV, Maan news network, Electronic Intifada among many others. Yousef is a UN fellow and took part in many speaking tours in Europe about his work experience working in a war zone. Yousef covered the infighting between Fatah and Hamas as well as the two Israeli wars on Gaza, siege-breaking boats and many other major events since 2006. Yousef runs Gaza TV News page on Facebook that has more than 46,000 followers.


Palestinians Mark 65th Anniversary of Nakba (Catastrophe of 1948)YOUSEF ALHELOU, TRNN CORRESPONDENT, GAZA: On May 15 each year, the Palestinian people mark Nakba Day, or what is known in English as the Catastrophe of 1948. It was in this year that Israel was established on Palestinian land, after the indigenous population was forced to flee their ancestral towns and villages.
Palestinian organizations refer to the Nakba as an ongoing tragedy, not only because Israel continues to dispossess Palestinians of their lands inside Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, but also because Israel continues to deny the refugees the right to return to their homes.
Events ranging from rallies, popular conferences, to cultural and traditional exhibitions take place across occupied Palestine and in the Diaspora, where Pro-Palestine supporters also take part in the annual commemoration.
The Palestinian Nakba of 1948 saw the beginning of ethnic cleansing of Palestine and led to the displacement of some 750,000 Palestinians, many of whom were forced to flee to neighboring countries after some 500 towns and villages were destroyed by Israeli occupation forces.
Today, Palestinian refugees and their descendants continue to fight for the right of return as the legacy of Palestine is passed down to generation after generation.
JAMAL SALEM, ASSOCIATION FOR CULTURE, ART AND POPULAR HERITAGE (VOICEOVER TRANSL.): We mark this day and educate our younger generation to stick to the right of return and never relinquish our national rights. When the occupiers occupied Palestine 65 years ago, they claimed that Palestine was a land without a people for a people without a land, but our land was inhabited and we were forced to leave our properties and we were dispossessed. We are proud of our cultural heritage, which reflects our identity.
ALHELOU: The right of return is a right that is protected under international law, as was confirmed by UN Resolution 194, yet has been denied for the Palestinian refugees for generations. At the same time, anyone of Jewish descent from around the world can receive immediate Israeli citizenship.
Descendants of refugees who live in the Diaspora mark the event. The Real News Network talked to Samah Sabawi in Australia and asked her what Nakba means to her.
SAMAH SABAWI, JOURNALIST: The plight of the Palestinian refugees began 65 years ago with the ethnic cleansing of Palestine as Israel was trying to make way for the establishment of a Jewish state with a Jewish majority for the Jewish people on indigenous inhabited Palestinian land.
Now, unfortunately, the ethnic cleaning has not stopped and continues until this day under the watchful eye of a complicit international community. The international community has failed the Palestinian people. And that is why it's very important for people of good conscience around the world to support the Palestinian grassroots movement for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, so that we, as the people of the world, can start to hold Israel to account for its violations of the Palestinian human rights and for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.
ALHELOU: The Palestinian people are the indigenous people of the land, historically identified under the British Mandate as Palestine, which is now called Israel. Israelis claim that they have a connection that is largely based on old religious narratives.
ATEF UDWAN, PALESTINIAN MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: The right of return is an essential right for every Palestinian deported his homeland since 1948 up to this moment. Such conferences and all activities that being, you know, held by Palestinians everywhere is to assert the right of return.
ALHELOU: The total number of Palestinians in the world is estimated to be about 11 million. About 5 million out of this number are Palestinian refugees, still live in UN-administered refugee camps in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. About two thirds of Gaza's 1.7 million people are refugees who were forced to flee their original villages in historic Palestine. A big number are still living in eight refugee camps across the Gaza Strip, receiving humanitarian aid assistance, health and education services provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
ADNAN ABU HASNA, UNRWA MEDIA ADVISER: We are servicing nearly 5 million registered refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and West Bank. It is a mandate of the General Assembly that was given to UNRWA in 1949. We will continue servicing the refugees until finding a just and durable solution for their cause.
ALHELOU: Sixty-five years on, Palestinian refugees make up the world's largest refugee population and longest unresolved refugee crisis.
Palestinian refugees consider the key the symbol of return, as they still dream of an eventual return to their homes in their original homeland, a dream they hope one day will become a reality.
As Palestinian refugees mark Nakba day, they assert their right of return, emphasizing that they will never relinquish what they call a sacred right.
Yousef Alhelou for The Real News, Gaza.