World Tour – New visa bans, and mercy flights in Yemen

NICK EICHER, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Visa ban extended to Nigeria—We start today here in Africa.

The Nigerian government promised over the weekend to address security issues that led the Trump administration to temporarily ban immigrants from the country. The White House announced the new policy last week.

It imposes restrictions on would-be immigrants from Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Kyrgyzstan, and Myanmar. But it’s not a total travel ban. Students, business travelers, and those seeking medical care can still apply for short-term visas.

The immigration restrictions come as Nigeria is struggling to contain an increase in jihadist violence.

Suspected herdsmen killed at least 32 people and burned down a church building during two nights of attacks in central Plateau state last week. It’s the latest in a spate of attacks targeting predominantly Christian villages.

Meanwhile, in the northeastern part of the country, two young girls detonated suicide bombs near Maiduguri. Three boys at an Islamic seminary died in the attack. No group has claimed responsibility, but local officials suspect Boko Haram.

Second Kenyan president dies—Next we go to Kenya.

Former president Daniel Arap Moi died on Tuesday at the age of 95. He was the country’s second president—a strongman known for creating a brutal one-party state marked by corruption and oppression.

Moi took the oath of office in 1978.

AUDIO: [Sounds of ceremony]

Moi ruled for 24 years—finally agreeing to return the country to multiparty elections in 1992. He eventually conceded defeat to a political opponent 10 years later.

The biggest scandal of Moi’s presidency involved the loss of $1 billion from Kenya’s central bank through false gold and diamond exports.

Current President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered a period of national mourning ahead of a state funeral.

Syrians flee renewed offensive—Next we go to the Middle East.

AUDIO: [Syrians flee]

More than half a million people are fleeing Syria’s Idlib province as Russian-backed government forces push to retake control of the country’s last rebel enclave. It is one of the biggest waves of displacement in the 9-year-old civil war.

AUDIO: [Syrian plane and bomb]

Syrian forces attacked Turkish troops in the region after a large Turkish military convoy crossed into the country. Turkey says it is trying to push Syrian-based rebel groups back from its border. U.S. officials counted 200 Russian and Syrian airstrikes in the area over the course of three days.

Russia and Turkey agreed to a ceasefire for the region in mid January, but the agreement has not stopped the violence.

Medical flight evacuates patients from Yemen—And finally, we end today in Yemen.

AUDIO: [Sound of plane engine]

A United Nations plane evacuated patients from the country’s capital on Monday. It was the first medical flight to leave Yemen in three years.

Altaf Musani is with the World Health Organization.

MUSANI: Today is the first flight of many, there are 16 passengers on the plane, over half of them are urgently seeking healthcare, many young boys and girls, and we know there are more than 30,000 patients still in Yemen seeking healthcare. Today is an important step to get the process moving.

Iran-backed Houthi rebels have controlled Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, since 2014. But Saudi Arabia controls Yemen’s airspace and has prevented any flights from leaving Sanaa since August 2016.

Three more medical relief flights are scheduled for later this week—carrying a total of 30 patients.

That’s this week’s World Tour. For WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere reporting from Abuja, Nigeria.

(AP Photo/Hani Mohammed) A Yemeni boy waves from inside a bus before boarding a United Nations plane at Sanaa International airport, Yemen, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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