Daily World News Digest, 26 October 2016

530 missing persons reported in Malta in 2016

The Malta Independent reported yesterday that Minister for Home Affairs and National Security Carmelo Abela has confirmed that 530 people have been reported missing in Malta in 2016, 15 of whom are still missing. Responding to a parliamentary question by MP Silvio Schembri, Abela said that 362 of the missing persons were women and 168 were men. The ages of the missing persons varied, but most are under the age of 20 with a total of 359 reported cases, three of whom are still missing.  http://bit.ly/2fexdYB    

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 328,225; Deaths at Sea: 3,671

Relief Web carried a story yesterday on an IOM report stating that 328,225 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 23 October, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy. Some 169,302 people have arrived in Greece and 153,450 in Italy during 2016. The total is well below the number of arrivals at this point in 2015, by which nearly 690,000 migrants and refugees had made the journey. An estimated 3,671 people have died trying to make the crossing in 2016. These include 17 bodies recovered in the Channel of Sicily between Friday and Sunday, which are expected to be brought ashore today. Over 6,700 migrants have been rescued in the Channel of Sicily since IOM’s last report on Friday 21 October. http://bit.ly/2eE1hMC

Ukraine: large numbers still missing as a result of conflict

The Kyiv Post reported yesterday that some 109 Ukrainian citizens are being held hostage, while 495 people are reported missing, according to adviser to the chief of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine Yuriy Tandit. “As of today, 109 persons are listed as hostages, they are illegally kept in occupied areas in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, and another nine people are in Russia. And it is important not to forget about the 495 missing whom we are seeking. It is very important to find them all,” Tandit told journalists in Kyiv on Tuesday. http://bit.ly/2f6kPe9   

Enforced disappearances continue in Egypt

The Middle East Monitor reported yesterday that there were 23 cases of enforced disappearances in Egypt between early July and the end of September, including the death of 20 people in prison, according to the Arab Organisation for Human Rights. The UK-based organization said that 730 people were arrested in 2016 including 193 in July, 321 in August and 216 in September. The numbers included 17 minors and five women. The report stated that at least 293 people were subjected to enforced disappearance during that period; approximately 32.7 percent of the total number of arrests. The Egyptian courts issued rulings in 93 cases before civilian and military courts; 24 were in military ccourts, while 69 were in civil and criminal courts. http://bit.ly/2dViLTH

Rout of Da’esh in Syria may open door to search for hostage remains

CNN reported yesterday that US military officials have received a tip that the remains of one or more American hostages killed by a Da’esh operative known as “Jihadi John” may be buried in Dabiq, Syria, CNN has learned. Military officials are now weighing whether it is possible to send American personnel to Dabiq to investigate further. Since some areas of northern Syria have been liberated from Da’esh, and there are US Special Operations Forces in the area, the door has been opened potentially to find the remains of Americans killed in Syria. Several defense officials have confirmed to CNN that they are looking at an initial intelligence report that suggests some US remains may be buried in that area. There seem to be several gravesites in the area that could be investigated. But some are reportedly mass graves, which may make it very difficult to determine which remains, if any, are actually American, officials said. http://cnn.it/2f6oZ5z

Bosnia: remains of seven war victims found

Balkan Insight reported yesterday that the remains of seven victims of the 1992-95 war have been discovered during an exhumation at a cemetery in Modrica Municipality in norther Bosnia. “The mortal remains that were recovered were transported to the city cemetery in Banja Luka, where they will be identified through DNA methods, after which we will discover the identities of the victims,” said the spokesperson for the State Prosecutor’s Office, Boris Grubesic. The Missing Persons Institute (MPI) told BIRN that this was the second time there had been an exhumation at the cemetery in Koprivna. “Last year we worked on this same location and exhumed the mortal remains of 17 persons. Until today, we have only identified two of those, both women – Zineta Herenda from Sarajevo and Lena Koprivica from Banja Luka,” said MPI spokesperson Lejla Cengic. Cengic added that it was too early to speculate about the identities of the victims whose remains were uncovered on Monday and Tuesday. “In that area we are looking for 137 people who disappeared from a mental health facility and 64 people who were brought from Visegrad to Modrica [during the war],” she said. http://bit.ly/2eQXEAG

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.