34 Migrants Dead After Boat Capsizes Off Djibouti

File photo of a boat used to illustrate the story

 

Thirty-four migrants drowned on Monday after their boat capsized off the coast of Djibouti, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, the second such accident in just over a month.

Survivors reported that the boat capsized in rough seas at around 4:00 am (0100 GMT) after leaving Yemen with around 60 passengers on board, an IOM official in Djibouti told AFP, asking not to be named.

“The migrants were being transported by people smugglers,” Mohammed Abdiker, the IOM’s regional director for East Africa and the Horn of Africa, added on Twitter.

READ ALSO: Egypt ‘Seizes’ Megaship Over Nearly $1 Bln Suez Claim

“Apprehending and prosecuting people traffickers and smugglers who exploit the vulnerabilities of migrants must become a priority. Too many lives needlessly lost.”

There were “many children” among the bodies found, the first official said, adding that survivors were receiving treatment from the IOM and local authorities.

The boat capsized in seas north of the Djibouti port town of Obock, a major transit point for thousands of African migrants in the region trying to reach the Gulf.

It follows a similar accident on March 4 when 20 people drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard during a journey between Djibouti and Yemen across the Gulf of Aden.

At least 200 migrants were packed aboard that vessel when it left Djibouti. But about 30 minutes into the voyage the smugglers panicked about the weight on board, and threw 80 people into the sea before turning back towards land.

Two similar incidents in October claimed the lives of at least 50 migrants.

Every year thousands of migrants make perilous boat journeys from the Horn of Africa to war-torn Yemen, many with the aim of travelling overland to Gulf nations in search of work.

It is believed thousands of migrants are stranded in Yemen, where a years-long conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions in what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The strait which separates Djibouti from Yemen is unusual in that it sees migrants and refugees passing in both directions — boatloads of Yemenis fleeing to Africa to escape war, while others head in the opposite direction carrying African migrants to the Arabian Peninsula in search of better opportunities.

AFP

34 Migrants Dead After Boat Capsized Off Djibouti

IOM logo: Photo: [email protected] Nigeria

 

Thirty-four migrants drowned on Monday after their boat capsized off the coast of Djibouti, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said, the second such accident in just over a month.

Survivors reported that the boat capsized in rough seas at around 4:00 am (0100 GMT) after leaving Yemen with around 60 passengers on board, an IOM official in Djibouti told AFP, asking not to be named.

“The migrants were being transported by people smugglers,” Mohammed Abdiker, the IOM’s regional director for East Africa and the Horn of Africa, added on Twitter.

“Apprehending and prosecuting people traffickers and smugglers who exploit the vulnerabilities of migrants must become a priority. Too many lives needlessly lost.”

READ ALSO: DR Congo Starts Countdown To End Of Ebola Outbreak

There were “many children” among the bodies found, the first official said, adding that survivors were receiving treatment from the IOM and local authorities.

The boat capsized in seas north of the Djibouti port town of Obock, a major transit point for thousands of African migrants in the region trying to reach the Gulf.

It follows a similar accident on March 4 when 20 people drowned after smugglers threw dozens of migrants overboard during a journey between Djibouti and Yemen across the Gulf of Aden.

At least 200 migrants were packed aboard that vessel when it left Djibouti. But about 30 minutes into the voyage the smugglers panicked about the weight on board, and threw 80 people into the sea before turning back towards land.

Two similar incidents in October claimed the lives of at least 50 migrants.

Every year thousands of migrants make perilous boat journeys from the Horn of Africa to war-torn Yemen, many with the aim of travelling overland to Gulf nations in search of work.

It is believed thousands of migrants are stranded in Yemen, where a years-long conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions in what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The strait which separates Djibouti from Yemen is unusual in that it sees migrants and refugees passing in both directions — boatloads of Yemenis fleeing to Africa to escape war, while others head in the opposite direction carrying African migrants to the Arabian Peninsula in search of better opportunities.

AFP

Veteran Ruler Guelleh Re-Elected Djibouti President For Fifth Term

Djibouti’s incumbent president Ismail Omar Guelleh (C) clasps his hands after he cast his ballot as his officials applaud at the Ras-Dika district polling station in the capital Djibouti on April 9, 2021. – (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

 

 

Djibouti’s veteran ruler Ismail Omar Guelleh was re-elected for a fifth term as president with more than 98 percent of the vote, according to provisional results announced early Saturday, after the election in the tiny but strategically important country was boycotted by the main opposition.

Around 215,000 citizens were registered to vote in the ballot pitting Guelleh, 73, against a little-known businessman widely seen as posing scant threat to the strongman, who has been in power since 1999.

Counting started shortly after polling stations closed around 7:00 pm in the Horn of Africa nation, which overlooks one of the world’s busiest trade routes at the crossroads between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.

“President Ismail Omar Guelleh obtained 167,535 votes, which is 98.58 percent,” Interior Minister Moumin Ahmed Cheick told public broadcaster RTD early Saturday, adding that confirmed results would be released soon by the Constitutional Council.

Independent election observers said the process went smoothly, with no reports of misconduct.

Earlier, after voting in the capital where most of Djibouti’s one million people reside, Guelleh praised the trouble-free conduct of the electoral exercise.

Dressed in immaculate white traditional robes, he said he was “very, very confident” of victory, after placing his vote in a transparent ballot box.

– ‘My vote is useless’ –
Guelleh was the handpicked successor to his relative Hassan Gouled Aptidon, the country’s first president after independence from France in 1977.

He faced just one challenger — political newcomer Zakaria Ismail Farah — after Djibouti’s main opposition parties boycotted the election.

Farah, a 56-year-old cleaning products importer, ended up with under 5,000 votes, according to the provisional results.

Farah cast doubt on the transparency of the voting process, saying his delegates were not present at polling stations.

“My vote is of no use, nor are the votes of 80 percent of the Djiboutian people,” the opposition candidate told AFP in a text message.

Ahmed Tidiane Souare, the head of an African Union (AU) observer mission, said all candidates were free to send their officials to any polling station.

Farah, who had styled himself as the “flag bearer of poor Djiboutians”, had alleged unfair treatment during the election campaign, including that he was not provided security at his rallies.

Guelleh, and his extended family, have controlled Djibouti with an iron fist since he was handed power. A rare wave of opposition protests in 2020 were brutally suppressed.

His predicted fifth term will be his last, under a 2010 constitutional reform that scrapped term limits while introducing an age limit of 75, which would lock him out of future elections.

Guelleh has clinched at least 75 percent of the vote in every presidential election he has contested.

“I am with President Ismail. I voted for him, I love him,” said 64-year-old Ahmed Abdillah Hadi after casting his ballot.

The vote proceeded despite a surge in Covid-19 cases and infection rates, and few wore face masks as they cheered Guelleh at a crowded final rally this week.

– Stable and strategic –
Under Guelleh, the country has exploited its geographical advantage, investing heavily in ports and logistics infrastructure.

In 2018, seeking to become a trade and logistics hub, the country launched the first phase of what will be Africa’s biggest free-trade zone, financed by China.

Flanked by Somalia and opposite Yemen, Djibouti has remained stable in a volatile neighbourhood, drawing foreign military powers such as former colonial ruler France, the United States and China to establish bases there.

But the country has also seen an erosion of press freedom and a crackdown on dissent as it has courted foreign interest.

The country’s economy shrank by one percent in 2020, but is expected to grow seven percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Djibouti’s GDP per capita income is about $3,500, higher than much of sub-Saharan Africa, but around 20 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty and 26 percent are unemployed, according to the World Bank.

Djibouti President Set To Clinch Fifth Term

In this file photo taken on November 12, 2019 Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh attends the plenary session at the start of the Paris Peace Forum in Paris. PHOTO: ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP

 

Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh is expected to extend his two-decade rule of the tiny Horn of Africa nation as the country heads to the polls Friday.

Guelleh, 73, is facing political newcomer Zakaria Ismail Farah, his only rival after traditional opposition parties decided to boycott the election.

A businessman specialised in the importation of cleaning products, Farah, 56, is seen by observers as unlikely to pose a significant challenge to the strongman who has been in power for 22 years.

Guelleh, flanked by his wife and government officials, wrapped up his campaign on Wednesday with a colourful final rally in a stadium packed with cheering supporters and traditional dancers.

“As I see you today in large numbers, I am sure that you will also come in large numbers to the polling stations,” Guelleh said before crowds wearing tee-shirts emblazoned with his popular initials, IOG.

Djibouti is a largely desert country strategically situated on one of the world’s busiest trade routes and at the crossroads between Africa and the Arabian peninsula, a short distance from war-torn Yemen.

Under Guelleh, the country has exploited this geographical advantage, investing heavily in ports and logistics infrastructure.

“He gave hope to the youth, and built ports for this country. Thanks to him we are no longer unemployed”, said 23-year-old Halima Saad, one of the estimated 25,000 who attended Wednesday’s rally.

 

– ‘Unequal treatment’ –

But the country has also has seen an erosion of press freedom and a crackdown on dissent as it has courted foreign interest.

“Little by little, there has been a hardening of the regime since 1999,” said Sonia Le Gouriellec, a political scientist who authored a book on Djibouti.

“The more it has opened to the world, the more it has closed internally.”

Guelleh’s predicted the fifth term will be his last, under a 2010 constitutional reform that scrapped term limits while introducing an age limit of 75, which would lock him out of future elections.

Djibouti’s election campaign came as the country saw Covid-19 infection rates soar by 38 percent in the past week, with some 200 cases a day in the country of almost one million people, and the rate of positive tests at 23 percent.

Nevertheless, thousands turned out for rallies for the ruling Union for the Presidential Majority (UMP), and few wore masks in the packed stands at Guelleh’s final campaign address in the capital.

Farah — who had to renounce his dual French citizenship to join the race — held a few small rallies before canceling the rest in the 10 days leading up to the polls.

He complained that he was not offered security services for his rallies.

The challenger, who has styled himself as the “flag-bearer of poor Djiboutians”, appeared with his wrists bound and mouth taped last month at one of his rallies to protest “unequal treatment”.

In 2020 Guelleh faced an unusual wave of opposition protests, which were brutally suppressed, after the arrest of an air force pilot who had denounced clan-based discrimination and corruption.

Police broke up several spontaneous small protests against Guelleh’s fifth term in the run-up to the election.

 

– Dependence on China –

Djibouti, which gained independence from France in 1977, has remained stable in an often troubled region, drawing foreign military powers such as France, the United States and China to establish bases there.

The country, seeking to become a trade and logistics hub, in 2018 launched the first phase of what will be Africa’s biggest free-trade zone, financed by China.

The Asian powerhouse — which sees Djibouti as a critical part of its “Belt and Road” global infrastructure initiative — also funded the building of a railway to Ethiopia.

“Previously there were many alliances… What happened during the last mandate is that they fell into a… total dependence on China,” Le Gouriellec said.

On the international stage Djibouti suffered a setback in its diplomatic ambitions in 2020 when it lost out to Kenya for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

The country’s economy shrank by one percent in 2020, but is expected to grow seven percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Djibouti’s GDP per capita is about $3,500, higher than much of sub-Saharan Africa, but some 20 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty and 26 percent are unemployed, according to the World Bank.

AFP

Djibouti Boat Sink: Death Toll Rises To 28 – IOM

A handout picture taken and released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) shows people searching along a beach for survivors after two boats capsized off the coast in Godoria, Djibouti/ AFP

 

The death toll from the sinking of two migrant boats off the coast of Djibouti rose to 28 on Wednesday, with perhaps 130 more still missing.

Two vessels carrying migrants departed from Godaria on the Horn of Africa nation’s northeast coast on Tuesday morning but sank in heavy seas 30 minutes into the journey, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Five bodies were recovered immediately and the IOM said Djiboutian authorities found more dead on Wednesday.

“Twenty-three bodies were recovered this morning and the coast guard continues (its) search,” IOM’s chief of mission in Djibouti, Lalini Veerassamy, told AFP.

Two people were recovered alive and Veerassamy said “a few” more survivors arrived at an IOM facility in the town of Obock on Tuesday evening.

READ ALSOFive Dead, 130 Missing As Migrant Boats Sink Off Djibouti – IOM

One survivor estimated there were 130 people on his boat, but was not able to estimate the number of passengers on the other vessel.

The nationalities of the victims remained unclear, Veerassamy said.

Located across the Bab el-Mandeb strait from Yemen and next to volatile Somalia and Ethiopia, Djibouti has in recent years become a transit point for migrants heading to find work on the Arabian Peninsula.

The region of Obock, from where the boat set off for Yemen, is unusual in that it sees people passing in both directions — boatloads of Yemeni refugees fleeing war cross vessels carrying African migrants seeking better opportunities.

– Worst crises –
In 2017 some 2,900 people, mostly Somalis and Ethiopians, passed through from Yemen, a year that saw about 100,000 migrants head into the troubled country.

“The number of new arrivals arriving in Yemen has been continuously increasing since 2012, despite the deepened insecurity and violence following the war that erupted in March 2015,” the IOM said in its 2018-2020 regional migration response plan.

“Arrivals peaked in 2016, when over 117,000 arrived in Yemen,” it added.

This migration comes despite Yemen facing one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

UN officials say 80 percent of the population — 24 million people — are in need of aid and nearly 10 million are just one step away from famine.

IOM said that most of the journey migrants take to Yemen is by foot, walking across the scorching desert regions of eastern Ethiopia, Djibouti and northern Somalia.

Once they arrive in Yemen they face torture, blackmail, sexual abuse or forced labour.

The sea crossing itself has repeatedly proven perilous.

Last year, at least 30 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia believed to be headed for Djibouti drowned when their boat capsized off Yemen amid reports of gunfire being used against those on board.

In August 2017, dozens of migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia died after human traffickers forced them off two Yemen-bound boats and into the sea.

Five Dead, 130 Missing As Migrant Boats Sink Off Djibouti – IOM

File Photo: Migrants

 

Five people are dead and about 130 missing off the coast of Djibouti after two boats carrying migrants capsized, the UN migration agency said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred about 30 minutes after the overloaded boats set off in heavy seas from Godoria on the Horn of Africa nation’s northeast coastline, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

“After being alerted by local residents, a team of gendarmerie gathered this afternoon near the reported site of the disaster and discovered two survivors as well as the remains of three women and two men,” IOM said in a statement.

One survivor estimated there were 130 people on his boat, but wasn’t able to say the number of passengers on the other vessel.

“The coast guard was also alerted and launched search and rescue operations. Those operations are still underway with two patrol boats,” said the statement.

Located across the Bab el-Mandeb strait from war-torn Yemen and next to volatile Somalia and Ethiopia, Djibouti has in recent years become a transit point for migrants heading to find work on the Arabian Peninsula.

Refugees fleeing Yemen also try and cross in the other direction.

The strategic sea crossing has repeatedly proven perilous.

Last year, at least 30 migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia believed to be headed for Djibouti drowned when their boat capsized off the coast of Yemen amid reports of gunfire being used against those on board.

In August 2017, dozens of migrants from Somalia and Ethiopia died after human traffickers forced them off two Yemen-bound boats and into the sea.

Islamists Launch Three Attacks In Somalia And Kenya In 24 Hours

somaliaSomalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group rammed a military base with a suicide truck bomb, shot dead an intelligence officer and killed 12 people in a Kenyan border town in a series of strikes over 24 hours, the militants said on Tuesday.

The group, which once ruled much of Somalia, wants to topple the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and drive out African AMISOM peacekeepers made up of soldiers from Kenya, Djibouti, Uganda, Ethiopia and other African nations.

The attacks mark the build up to elections in coming weeks for the Somali parliament, which will in turn pick a new president to continue slow reconstruction efforts in a nation racked by more than two decades of conflict.

Al Shabaab spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab said the group was behind a truck bomb that rammed into an AMISOM base in the Somali town of Beledweyne, north of Mogadishu. He said 17 soldiers from Djibouti were killed.

AMISOM, which is battling the Islamist rebels in support of the government, said a vehicle packed with explosives was set off at the base and 10 suspected al Shabaab militants attacked. “The terrorists were all killed,” it said on Twitter.

“Reinforcement from a nearby base was rushed to the camp and the situation swiftly brought under control,” AMISOM added.

Al Shabaab, whose assessment of casualties often varies from those of officials, typically rams the entrance to a target site with a car or truck bomb so that its fighters can storm in.

The al Shabaab spokesman also said the group shot senior intelligence officer Colonel Abdiasis Araye as he walked to a mosque late on Monday in Mogadishu.

He also said al Shabaab was behind Tuesday’s early morning attack on a hotel in Kenya’s northeastern Mandera town, killing at least 12 people according to police and 15 people according to al Shabaab’s account.

Nigeria To Play Swaziland Under Floodlights

nigeria-super eaglesThe 2018 World Cup qualifier between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the King’s Shield of Swaziland will be played under floodlights at the Somhlolo National Stadium in Lobamba.

The Swaziland Football Association has confirmed the first leg tie will kick off at 7pm Swazi time, which will be 6pm Nigeria time on Friday, November 13.

The world’s football governing body, FIFA, has appointed Germain Koole of Benin Republic as referee for the big match, with his compatriots Bienvenu Dina, Sena Houedin and Gustave Eugene Tohouegnon as his assistants.

The Super Eagles drew a bye in round one as Swaziland edged out Djibouti 8-1 on Aggregate.

The Super Eagles will resume camping for the match in Abuja on November 9.

Team Nigeria Ready for ITTF African Junior Championship in Egypt

tennis teamNigeria will on Monday begin its quest for glory in the team event of the 2014 International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) tagged African Junior Championship taking place in Cairo, Egypt.

The eight-man team led by national coach, Nosiru Bello and assisted by Dotun Omoniyi will compete against seeded teams such as Tunisia, Algeria and the host nation.

In the team event draw that took place in Cairo, Nigeria’s male team has been pitched against Egypt, Congo Brazzaville, Djibouti and Congo DRC in Group One while Tunisia, Algeria, Angola Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa are in Group Two.

In the female draw, Nigeria will tackle Egypt, South Africa, Angola in Group One while Algeria, Tunisia, Congo Brazzaville and Congo DRC were drawn in group two.

In the cadet team event draw, Nigeria’s male team will battle Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria in Group One while group Two consists of Congo Brazzaville, Angola, South Africa and Djibouti.

For the girls’ draw, Nigeria will tackle Tunisia, Angola and Congo DRC in Group Two while Egypt has to confront Congo Brazzaville South Africa and Angola in Group one.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinal stage of the championship.

The Nigeria male team is made up of Olasunkanmi Oginni, Babafemi Babatunde, Joseph Osedunkwu and Sunday Akomolafe, while the female team has Tosin Esther Oribamise, Agnes Onoja, Ajoke Ojomu and Halimot Ayinla.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s quartet of Aly Ghallab, Mahmoud Fathy, Ahmed Mabrouk and Ahmed Dabous are the top seeded players in the Championships. Ahmed Dabous currently stands in second place behind Algeria’s Yaniss Douifi, with Tunisia’s Kerem Ben Yahia in third spot.

Mahmoud Fathy is in fourth position; Congo Brazzaville’s Gracce Babekidio occupies fifth spot with Aly Ghallab in the sixth.

The ranking produced by the African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF) is a combination of the current ITTF World Rankings combined with the results gained at the immediate previous African Junior Championships.

Tunisia represented by Kerem Ben Yahia, Nadim Ben Mekki, Chouab Lagha and Salim Hassine occupy the second seeded position in the Junior Boys’ Team event with Algeria and Congo Brazzaville being the third
and fourth seeds.

Algeria is represented Yaniss Douifi, Salim Amokrane, Arslane Beldjelali and Abderrahmane Alioua; whilst for Congo Brazzaville the squad is formed by Christ Bientaki, Michel Lignan

African Tourney: Nigeria’s Handball Team Into Semi-final

Nigeria’s male handball team has progressed into the semi-finals of the Africa Handball tournament in Djibouti after beating Uganda 55-16.

The sport federation could not hide its joy on the team’s progress through the technical director of the federation saying it shows that the sport is developing with this brilliant performance in a tournament like that.

“I am particularly glad with the performance; the margin is clear evidence that we did not leave Nigeria for show, but to make the country proud.

Enroute to the semi-finals the U-20 handball team of Nigeria crushed host 45-18, Senegal managed to pull a draw out with them after the game ended 30 all.

The federation said it was impressed by the performance these young players both the male and female teams as the girls will also be playing their last group game today. The federation however  requested that handball lovers and Nigeria as whole should pray for the team to farther than the knockout stages of the championship so as to sing the country’s glory.