Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 15th 2013 Contents A35
Thursday, August 15, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
NAIROBI---In announcing a pull-
out from Somalia after 22 years,
Doctors Without Borders said yes-
terday that armed groups are
killing and abducting aid workers.
And in a scathing indictment of
Somalia s leadership, the aid
group accused civilian leaders of
condoning or even supporting the
The pullout goes against the nar-
rative of a Somalia emerging from
decades of anarchy and violence
amid military gains against Islamist
insurgents, but it underscores the
violence that persists. Some two
dozen local journalists have been
killed since the start of 2012. In
June, a truck bomb and gunfire
attack on the main UN compound
in Mogadishu killed eight UN
employees and five Somali civilians.
Doctors Without Borders, the
winner of the 1999 Nobel Peace
Prize and known by its French ini-
tials as MSF, said the pullout will
cut off hundreds of thousands of
Somali civilians from humanitarian
aid. For example, in Mogadishu,
MSF runs the only paediatric
intensive care unit, while in Jowhar,
women will have nowhere to go
for emergency Caesarean sections.
The decision comes after the
release from prison of a Somali
man convicted of killing two MSF
staff. In December 2011 a Somali
employee of MSF who recently
learned his contract would not be
renewed shot and killed a Belgian
and an Indonesian worker at an
MSF compound. Though the
shooter was convicted and sen-
tenced to 30 years, authorities
released him from prison after only
three months, MSF said.
Since 1991, dozens of attacks
resulted in the deaths of 16 Doctors
Without Borders staff in Somalia.
Two MSF employees who were
kidnapped in a Kenyan refugee
camp near the border and held in
Somalia for almost two years were
released last month.
In a blunt statement, MSF
denounced "extreme attacks on its
staff in an environment where
armed groups and civilian leaders
increasingly support, tolerate, or
condone the killing, assaulting and
abducting of humanitarian aid
"In choosing to kill, attack and
abduct humanitarian aid workers,
these armed groups, and the civil-
ian authorities who tolerate their
actions, have sealed the fate of
countless lives in Somalia," said Dr
Unni Karunakara, MSF s interna-
At a Nairobi press conference he
did not elaborate on the accusation
or present evidence. Somali gov-
ernment leaders in Mogadishu
declined to comment.
Somalia has long been a rud-
derless nation plagued by cyclical
drought and famine and decades
of armed conflict. But in recent
years it has been seen as making
strides in security and governance,
particularly since August 2011,
when al-Qaida-aligned militants
were forced out of Mogadishu.
The security gains brought new
measures of freedom to the capital.
But violence persists. (AP)
COLOMBO---Sri Lanka s president yes-
terday appointed a commission to inves-
tigate wartime abductions and disap-
pearances ahead of an update to be given
to the United Nations Human Rights
Council on the country s progress in
investigating alleged war crimes and
human rights violations.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa s office
said he appointed retired Judge Maxwell
Parakrama Parnagama to head the three-
The appointment comes ahead of a
visit by UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights Navi Pillay later this
month. Her office will update the human
rights council on the findings of her visit
during its session next month.
The council in March approved for a
second successive year a United States-
backed resolution calling on Sri Lanka to
more thoroughly investigate alleged war
crimes committed by both sides during
its civil war with Tamil Tiger rebels. It
also directed Pillay s office to update the
council on Sri Lanka s progress.
The presidential commission was given
the "authority to conduct inquiries and
investigations necessary, and submit a
report to the president within six months,"
Rajapaksa s office said.
In his instructions to the commission
he "stressed the necessity to identify the
persons responsible...and to take legal
action against those persons," it said.
In May 2009, Sri Lanka s military
defeated Tamil Tiger rebels who had
fought a quarter-century civil war to cre-
ate an independent state for ethnic minor-
A UN report has said that Sri Lanka s
ethnic Sinhalese-dominated government
may have killed as many as 40,000 Tamil
civilians in the final months of the war.
Rajapaksa s government is also accused
of abducting suspected rebels, human
rights activists, and critical journalists
during and after the conflict. Many of
those abducted are feared dead.
The rebels are also accused of killing
civilians, using them as human shields
and recruiting child soldiers.
Sri Lanka s government initially denied
any civilian deaths but amid growing
international pressure appointed a Lessons
Learnt and Reconciliation Commission
which dismissed allegations that the mil-
itary intentionally killed civilians but
called for investigations into civilian
JAKARTA---Indonesia s anti-graft agency has arrested
the head of the country s oil and gas regulator for
allegedly receiving bribes from a private oil company.
Corruption Eradication Commission spokesman Johan
Budi says the agency confiscated US$400,000 in cash
Tuesday and arrested an unidentified man handing it
over at the home of Rudi Rubiandini, chair of the Special
Task Force for Upstream Oil and Gas Business.
Budi says yesterday the raid also led to the arrests of
an oil company official in western Jakarta along with
Rubiandini s driver and two security guards. Budi did
not name the oil company.
Anti-graft commissioner Bambang Widjojanto says
an additional US$300,000 and a luxury motorbike were
later confiscated from Rubiandini s house.
Endemic graft in Indonesia has been blamed for deter-
ring foreign investment. (AP)
Doctors Without Borders pulls out of Somalia
Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) International President Dr Unni Karunakara
addresses journalists during a press conference in Nairobi, Kenya,
yesterday. The aid group Doctors Without Borders said yesterday it is
pulling out of Somalia after 22 years of work there because of attacks on
its staff. AP PHOTO
Sri Lanka to investigate wartime
arrested on graft
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