Bangladeshi family remembers mother honored by UAE

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Khurshid Alam and his daughter Luva receive the certificate of honor from UAE Ambassador Saed Mohammed Al-Mheiri. (Photo credit: UAE Embassy in Dhaka)
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The school, funded by Dubai Cares and built in memory of Sufia Akhter Jusna, in Sunamgonj district. (Arab News photo)
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The school, funded by Dubai Cares and built in memory of Sufia Akhter Jusna, in Sunamgonj district, Bangladesh. (Arab News photo)
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Two of Sufia’s children hold their mother’s biography as they stand in front of their village house. (Photo credit: UAE Embassy in Dhaka)
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Khurshid Alam, husband of Sufia Akhter Jusna, with Abdulla Ali Al-Hamoudi, deputy head of mission at the UAE Embassy in Dhaka. (Photo credit: UAE Embassy in Dhaka)
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The school, funded by Dubai Cares and built in memory of Sufia Akhter Jusna, in Sunamgonj district. (Arab News photo)
Updated 14 April 2019
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Bangladeshi family remembers mother honored by UAE

  • Sufia Akhter Jusna died saving two boys in her care from drowning
  • In honor of Sufia, the UAE-based charity Dubai Cares has funded the construction of a school in her name

DHAKA: Khurshid Alam, 55, was watering the orchard in his backyard on Oct. 25, 2014 when he received news of the sudden death of his wife, Sufia Akhter Jusna, in the UAE.

Sufia, 46, was a mother of six and her family’s sole breadwinner due to her husband suffering from a medical condition. She had been working in Dubai as a carer for two young boys, aged six and ten. On Oct. 24, whilst at the beach, the pair were dragged out to sea by a strong current. Sufia swam to their rescue, but drowned in the process.

“I fainted upon receiving the news and laid unconscious for hours. She was about to complete her job in Dubai and return home soon,” Khurshid said.

“She went to Dubai to make ends meet as I couldn’t do any tough work due to chronic asthma. My wife always dreamed of a brick-built house instead of a tin-sheet house. During our last conversation, just two days before her death, she said she had saved enough money to build it.”

Bangladeshi caregiver Sufia Akhter Jusna. 

Sufia’s body was flown from Dubai a week later, and she was laid to rest in her native village of Dharmapasha in Sunamgonj, 194 km from the capital Dhaka.

On April 9, her sacrifice was recognized by the UAE in a ceremony held at its embassy in Bangladesh. 

Ambassador Saed Mohammed Al-Mheiri presented a medal of honor to Sufia’s family, as well as compensation of $5,500.

Al-Mheiri said: “We express our deepest gratitude for her sacrifice, and the UAE will always support bereaved families.”

A school in Sufia’s name in Sunamgonj was also approved, which, though still under construction, is already teaching pupils. Funded by the UAE-based charity Dubai Cares, the initiative came at the direction of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, and is being overseen by the UAE Embassy in Dhaka.

Sufia and Khurshid’s eldest daughter, Luva, said: “Everything suddenly changed for our family after the sad demise of my mother. My father now has to struggle very hard to provide for my five teenage siblings.

“The loss is profound, but I am proud of my mother, who never thought twice about saving those boys, in whom she saw a reflection of her own children.”


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 17 June 2019
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

  • A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation
  • Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.