Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 17th 2014 Contents A33
Monday, March 17. 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
BANGKOK---Thailand said Satur-
day it suspected a group of 200
people recently rescued from a
human trafficking camp were eth-
nic Uighur Muslims, as calls
mounted from the international
community to protect the group
and ensure they are not forced back
Thai police discovered the group,
which included 78 men, 60 women
and 82 children, on Wednesday at
a secluded jungle camp behind rub-
ber plantations in southern Songkhla
"From what we see, they are likely
Uighurs but we cannot confirm that
until the identification process is
completed," said Thailand s immi-
gration police chief Lt Gen Panu
Authorities initially said they
believed the group was Turkish,
because they claimed to be from
Turkey. Chinese and Turkish diplo-
mats have visited the people, who
so far have refused to speak with
the Chinese official, said Panu.
"After we know their nationalities,
we will press charges against them
on illegal entry and push for depor-
tation," Panu said.
The Turkik-speaking Muslim
Uighurs originate from China s west-
ern region of Xinjiang, home to a
simmering insurgency by the native
Uighurs against what they see as
discrimination and religious sup-
pression by China s majority Han
The government has responded
with a crackdown on what it calls
terrorism incited by separatists who
are influenced by radical Islam. Last
year, clashes between authorities
and members of the minority group
left scores dead, including 40 police
The US State Department urged
Thailand to protect the group, which
it identified as Uighurs.
New York-based Human Rights
Watch called on Thai authorities to
ensure the group is not forced to
return to China, which has inten-
sified a crackdown on the ethnic
"Thai authorities should realise
that Uighurs forced back to China
disappear into a black hole," Brad
Adams, Asia director at Human
Rights Watch said in a statement,
adding that Uighurs forcibly returned
to China face credible threats of tor-
Thailand has long been a transit
point and hub for human traffickers,
mostly transporting ethnic Rohingya
fleeing violence and persecution in
neighbouring Myanmar. (AP)
Thailand urged not to deport Uighurs
ABUJA, Nigeria---At least 16 people were killed
in stampedes for government jobs in Nigeria
when hundreds of thousands were invited to
apply for fewer than 5,000 positions, officials
and activists said yesterday.
Interior Minister Abba Moro held the appli-
cants responsible, saying they "lost their lives
through their impatience."
Activists blamed his ministry and called for
him to be fired. Emergency officials said the
death toll could rise.
Nigerians are desperate for work, with official
statistics putting the number of unemployed at
nearly 41 million of the 170 million population.
Unemployment among young people aged
under-24 is even higher---38 per cent according
to official statistics and nearer 80 per cent,
according to the World Bank.
Moro was quoted as saying by the official
News Agency of Nigeria that many of the appli-
cants "jumped through the fences of affected
centres and did not conduct themselves in an
orderly manner ... This caused stampedes and
made the environment unsecured."
The Education Rights Campaign blamed his
ministry for inviting more applicants than centres
could accommodate and not providing enough
The campaign, which called for Moro to be
fired, gave the example of Abuja National Sta-
dium, which has a capacity for 60,000. It said
65,000 applicants were invited and seven people
The other deaths took place in Minna, Port
Harcourt, Dutse and Benin City, Moro said.
The campaign said scores of people were killed.
The Nigerian Red Cross and some hospital offi-
cials said many seriously injured patients were
admitted, and some could die, raising the toll.
About 500,000 applicants were invited to
apply for 4,556 vacancies at the Nigeria Immi-
gration Service, according to Education Rights.
Applicants said they each paid 1,000 naira
(about $6) --- apparently for the right to write
tests on Saturday at the application centres.
The Education Rights Campaign said it was
scandalous that the government had collected
about $3 million from applicants and demanded
the money be returned.
It said it was unconscionable that the gov-
ernment was "preying on the misery of hapless
Nigerian youths, especially graduates who suffer
years without gainful employment."
Nigeria is Africa s biggest oil producer and
has one of the world s fastest-growing
economies---7 per cent projected for this year---
but corruption and mismanagement have failed
to translate that growth into much-needed jobs.
16 killed in
jobs in Nigeria
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