Number of successful asylum seekers down as loopholes closed

BERN, SWITZERLAND – The number of requests for asylum in Switzerland fell by 16 percent in February, compared to January (and by 20 percent compared to February 2012), and the number of asylum seekers whose files were handed over to the country where they entered the Schengen area rose by 10 percent in February. The […]

French Mali offensive moves on to Timbuktu

African Union considers sending more troops, US to provide air refueling GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The French offensive against Islamists in Mali is focusing on securing the main cities: Goa in the north was under French-led troops by Sunday morning 27 January, the largest of six cities seized by the French-Malian forces, and the fight was […]

Algerian hostage death toll rises, urgent hunt for missing

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The number of hostages who were killed in last week’s raid on a gas plant in Algeria remains unclear, with Reuters reporting at 09:30 Monday 21 January that the number is up to 60, with confirmation from the Japanese government that 12 of its citizens died. The BBC was reporting Monday morning […]

Mali exodus underway as uncertainty takes over

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The world’s refugee population is ballooning, with a new exodus from Mali underway prompting the UN refugee organization in Geneva to say that 300,000 people inside Mali will need help and 407,000 in neighbouring countries in coming days. There are currently 147,000 Malian refugees, mainly in six countries in the region, a […]

Mali conflict spills over to Algeria, with hostages seized (update)

Algerian troops surround factory Some 50 of the hostages are reported to have escaped – details sketchy Update 13:30  GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Some 50 of the hostages are reported by French and Algerian media to have escaped from the gas plant in Algeria that is under siege. A number of foreign workers at a gas […]

France faces African role: Mali intervention, Somalia failure

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – France’s new government under President Francois Hollande had barely announced it intended to reduce its role in Africa, when it sent warplanes to its former colony Friday 11 January to support the government and stop the advance of Islamists who have building strength since April 2012. Britain is sending air reinforcements to […]

UK, Canada to have joint embassies

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – British and Canadian foreign ministers are expected to sign an agreement Monday 24 September in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, allowing the two countries to share diplomatic missions abroad in an effort to cut costs. British Foreign Minister William Hague and Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Braid are scheduled to announce plans to […]

UNHCR triples funds request for Sahel, calling situation “desperate”

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND -The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, 31 May made an urgent plea for a massive increase in donations to help people in the Sahel region, saying that the “current funding level is woefully inadequate. We desperately need more funds now, ahead of the rainy season, which starts in June and is often marked by […]

Gunmen kill 21 in separate church attacks in Nigeria

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – At least 21 people were killed in two separate attacks on Christian church services Sunday 29 April, in northern Nigeria. In a first attack at a university campus in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city, gunmen killed at least 16 worshippers congregating at a lecture hall, using explosives and gunfire, as people attempted to […]

Mali kidnap victim released to Swiss gov’t officials

BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss woman kidnapped last week in Timbukto, Mali was released “into the custody of a representative of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) by the group holding her,” Bern announced Tuesday evening 24 April. She has been taken to a safe place and is “is reported to be in good […]