Daily World News Digest, 24 April 2017

Mediterranean: NGOs helping migrants accused of “colluding” with smugglers

The Independent reported on Sunday that UNHCR has recorded at least 1,073 people dead or missing on the treacherous passage between Libya and Italy since the beginning of the year – a figure that was not reached until the end of May last year. Smugglers are pushing more and more boats into the Mediterranean as the weather improves and amid rumors of a crackdown by the Libyan coastguard, which is being bolstered by Italian funding and equipment. The unprecedented crisis has sparked intervention by several non-governmental organizations that have launched their own rescue ships equipped with medical staff and supplies to boost efforts by the EU’s Operation Sophia. Initially welcomed by European authorities, their growing role in the Mediterranean has been met with increasing suspicion from right-wing politicians and groups now accusing them of “colluding” with smugglers. http://ind.pn/2ozOSub

Mexico: clandestine graves in Acapulco

Lainfo.es reported on Sunday that at least six bodies have been found in clandestine graves located in the tourist port of the city of Acapulco in the Mexican State of Guerrero in the South of the country, quoting the regional Prosecutor’s Office. The Prosecutor’s Office said it will continue investigating in the area to verify that there are no more bodies buried at the site. According to a study carried out by the NGO citizen Council for public security and criminal justice, the city of Acapulco is considered the fourth most violent city in the world with a rate of 104 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. http://bit.ly/2oX2uD8

UN investigators discover 17 more mass graves in DR Congo

StreamAfrica reported on Friday that UN investigators have uncovered seventeen mass graves in two days of operations in the province of Kasai Central in the DR Congo, where a local militia known as Kamwina Nsapu has been fighting government forces since August. Fifteen mass graves were located in the cemetery of a small town, Tshimbulu, while the other two were found in a locality known as Tshienke. This discovery brings the number of mass graves unearthed in the Kasai provinces to forty, as 23 other graves had already been discovered by early April. Evidence availed to the UN suggests that Congo’s national army, the FARDC, dug up the mass graves to bury those killed after it fought with the Kamwina Nsapu in late March. Thirty children are believed to be among at least 74 fatalities from this clash. http://bit.ly/2oX9Nut

UN: One million displaced by fighting in DR Congo

Africaafrique reported on Sunday that deadly violence between government forces and militia after the killing of a tribal leader in DR Congo’s central Kasai region has forced more than a million people from their homes over the past eight months. Yvon Edoumou of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it had registered 1.09 million internally displaced people in the region as of 1 April. The UN has accused the militia of using child soldiers and committing several atrocities, while also denouncing the disproportionate use of force by the military. The UN has reported finding 40 mass graves in the Kasai region, and the bodies of two UN researchers investigating the violence were found in a grave 16 days after they were abducted last month. http://bit.ly/2oBfz2e

Egypt: video appears to show extra-judicial killings

Middle East Eye carried a story of Friday on a video that appears to show members of the Egyptian security forces conducting extra-judicial killings. At least two people appear to be shot dead during the two-minute video and other bodies can be seen lying on the ground. The video ends with a statement released by Egypt’s military after the shootings in which it claimed to have neutralized eight “takfiri terrorists”. Egypt’s security forces already face accusations of carrying out extra-judicial killings in northern Sinai, where they have been battling militants affiliated to the Islamic State (IS) group since 2013. http://bit.ly/2pbXxa9

Punjab: Commission on Missing Persons to begin hearing

TheNews.com reported on Sunday that the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances (CoIoED) will hold hearings in cases of missing persons pertaining to Punjab from 2 to 12 May. Faisal Manzoor, Assistant Registrar ColoED, said, “All stakeholders and departments concerned will be present in the hearing. Twelve or 13 cases on missing persons will be heard on a daily basis.” http://bit.ly/2pVLG0m

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff. These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.