15 dead, 5 hurt in a stampede for food aid in Morocco

In this Oct. 19, 2017 file photo, Moroccan women filling up containers with water from a hose, in Zagora, southeastern Morocco. Experts blame poor choices in agriculture, growing populations and climate change for the water shortages in towns like Zagora, which has seen repeated protests for access to clean water in recent weeks. (AP Photo/Issam Oukhouya, File)
Updated 20 November 2017
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15 dead, 5 hurt in a stampede for food aid in Morocco

RABAT, Morocco: A stampede in a southern Moroccan village left at least 15 people dead and five others injured Sunday as food aid was being distributed, the Interior Ministry said.
The crush took place in Sidi Boulalam, in the province of Essaouira, as a local association was distributing food aid in a local weekly “souk,” or market, the ministry said in a statement.
King Mohammed VI has given instructions that “all measures be taken to help the victims and their families,” the ministry said. The king will pay for the hospitalization of the wounded and the burials of the dead, according to the statement.
Alyaoum24.com, a local and reliable news website, reported that people were rushing for food aid whose value was about $16 per person.
The mayor of the nearby city of Essaouira, Hicham Jbari, told The Associated Press that the tragedy’s victims have been transported to his town’s hospital. The village of Sidi Boulalam is about 60 kilometers (35 miles) from the city of Essaouira.

Distributions of food aid are common in the North African nation, notably in remote parts of the country. They are organized by private sponsors and groups as well as by the authorities.
Often held once a week in rural areas of Morocco, the souks are usually very busy places. People from nearby villages come to the markets to buy food and others items for a week.
A drought has greatly hurt agricultural output in Morocco recently, contributing to the high cost of basic food items.
 


Turkey: ‘We do not want to hurt our relationship with Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case’

Updated 22 October 2018
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Turkey: ‘We do not want to hurt our relationship with Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case’

LONDON: Turkey has said it does not want to hurt its relationship with Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in Ankara: "Saudi Arabia is for us an important country, a brotherly and friendly country. We have many partnerships and we would not want these to be damaged."

Kalin added: "Rather than making it an issue between the two countries, there has been a determination for the incident to be brought to light."

More to follow.