Top Yemen Bahai figure disappears amid Houthi crackdown

Friends of the spokesman for Yemen’s Bahai religious minority say he has been detained by Houthi militias who control the country’s north. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2018
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Top Yemen Bahai figure disappears amid Houthi crackdown

CAIRO: Friends of the spokesman for Yemen’s Bahai religious minority say he has been detained by Houthi militias who control the country’s north.
Two friends of Abdullah Yahia Al-Ayolofi said Friday that unidentified men snatched Al-Ayolofi from a market in a district called Al-Jarraf in Sanaa on Thursday. His whereabouts remain unknown, they said.
A security official tells The Associated Press that Houthi militiamen seized Al-Ayolofi earlier in the week.
Al-Ayolofi, a convert to Bahaism, has been outspoken about Houthi abuses against Bahai followers.
All spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
The Houthis’ leader has targeted Bahais in public speeches describing them as “satanic” and several Bahais have been detained, tortured and held incommunicado, according to the community’s United Nations representative.


2 babies die at camp for displaced in Jordan

Many Syrians have fled to Jordan and have been placed in camp like Al-Zaatri (pictured), but Rukban camp lies inside Syria and Jordanians say the responsibility belongs to Damascus. (File/Reuters)
Updated 13 min 19 sec ago
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2 babies die at camp for displaced in Jordan

  • The deaths prompted UNICEF to reiterate calls for humanitarian access for the thousands of people at Rukban camp

AMMAN: Two babies have died of illness in the past week at a camp for displaced people on the Syrian border with Jordan, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said Thursday.

The deaths prompted UNICEF to reiterate calls for humanitarian access for the thousands of people at Rukban camp, which lies in an inhospitable stretch of desert.

“Another sad week for children and families in Rukban. Two sick babies under six months old died in Rukban,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Freezing temperatures and lack of supplies including of basic commodities, threaten the lives of nearly 45,000 people — among them many children, leaving them at the risk of disease and death,” he said in a statement.

Last month the UN and Syrian Arab Red Crescent announced the first delivery of humanitarian aid at Rukban in 10 months.

Civilians trapped at the camp face the risk of starvation amid a deteriorating humanitarian situation after Jordan sealed its border following a Daesh attack on its soldiers.

Soon afterwards, the army declared Jordan’s desert regions that stretch northeast to Syria and east to Iraq “closed military zones.”

Amman believes the responsibility of the camp lies with Damascus since it is inside Syrian territory.

Syria has been embroiled in a civil war that killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since it started with the brutal repression of anti-government protests in 2011.