Sudan summons Ethiopian envoy over suspected cross-border attack

Sudan summoned the Ethiopian Chargé d’Affaires on Saturday over a border attack by suspected Ethiopian militias that killed and wounded several Sudanese army personnel as well as civilians. (AFP)
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Updated 30 May 2020

Sudan summons Ethiopian envoy over suspected cross-border attack

  • Thursday’s attack targeted a camp in the eastern city of Al-Qadarif

KHARTOUM: Sudan summoned the Ethiopian Chargé d’Affaires on Saturday over a border attack by suspected Ethiopian militias that killed and wounded several Sudanese army personnel and civilians, it said in a statement.
Thursday’s attack targeted a camp in the eastern city of Al-Qadarif, the official SUNA news agency said.
A Sudanese military spokesman blamed militias “supported by Ethiopia” for the attack, according to SUNA.
There was no immediate comment from Addis Adaba.
Some Ethiopian groups have used farmland in the Sudanese al Fashqa border region for decades. The former Sudanese government of deposed veteran leader Omar Al-Bashir turned a blind eye, but the current transitional authorities in Khartoum are trying to expel the groups.
Sudan’s foreign ministry statement said the attack killed and wounded “a number of officers and personnel of the armed forces and Sudanese citizens, including children.” No other details were given.
The attack happened while Khartoum was preparing for a meeting of a high-level joint committee on border issues, the statement said.


Pakistan launches anti-polio drive as COVID-19 cases decline

Updated 15 August 2020

Pakistan launches anti-polio drive as COVID-19 cases decline

  • Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio is still endemic
  • Since Jan., Pakistan has reported about 100 new polio cases from various parts of the country

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani health officials on Saturday launched a seven-day vaccination campaign against polio as part of efforts aimed at eliminating the crippling disease amid a steady decline in fatalities and infections from the coronavirus, which had recently overwhelmed the country’s fragile health system.
The anti-polio campaign, which began amid tight security, aims to vaccinate as many as 34 million children across Pakistan, including former Taliban strongholds bordering Afghanistan, a government statement said.
Medical workers participating in the drive against polio were seen adhering to social distancing regulations as they wore face masks and gloves while going house-to-house to avoid a spike in coronavirus cases.
“I am hopeful that parents will continue to realize the importance of vaccinating their children during this campaign,” said Faisal Sultan, an adviser to the prime minister on health issues.
According to Rana Safdar, who heads the government’s polio program, similar campaigns against polio will be launched in October, November and December.
Earlier Saturday, Pakistan’s military said Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist, praised Islamabad’s success in the fight against coronavirus in a telephone call to the country’s army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. It said Gates also discussed the resumption of the drive against polio.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the three countries in the world where polio — a disabling and life-threatening disease caused by the polio virus — is still endemic. The nonprofit Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has helped Pakistan and other places worldwide fight the disease.
Pakistan had hoped to eliminate the disease by 2018, when only 12 cases were reported. But there was a surge in new cases the following year. Since January, Pakistan has reported about 100 new polio cases from various parts of the country, including the northwestern region bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistani Taliban and other militants regularly stage attacks on polio teams and security forces escorting them because they claim the anti-polio drive is part of an alleged Western conspiracy to sterilize children or collect intelligence. Attacks on polio teams increased after it was revealed that a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign was used as a ruse by the CIA in the hunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden was killed by US commandos in 2011 in Pakistan.
Pakistan halted the drive against polio in March and resumed it last month amid a decline in infections and fatalities from COVID-19.
On Saturday, Pakistan reported only 9 new deaths from the new virus in the past 24 hours, increasing the country’s total of COVID-19 deaths to 6,162. So far, Pakistan has reported 288,047 cases and officials say about 93% of the patients recovered since February, when the country reported its first confirmed case.