Sometimes, it is a reporter's personal connection to a place or a person that makes the story a reality to those reading it, though they may be far disconnected from the events on the ground. That is certainly the sense one gets from reading Jeffrey Gettleman's latest piece on the devastating famine that has ravaged the Horn of Africa. In today's paper, The New York Times East Africa bureau chief writes about his struggle to reconcile covering one of the worst humanitarian disasters of all time as a reporter with his desire to help the masses he's watched suffer.
In Somalia, there are renewed hopes that victims of the country's famine may at last receive much needed aid. Over the weekend African peacekeepers forced Somalia's al-Shabab Islamist rebels out of the capital, Mogadishu. The rebels have blocked several international relief groups from bringing food to Somalia. Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times' East Africa bureau chief, reports on the latest from Nairobi.
The Horn of Africa's worst drought in more than 60 years continues to wreak havoc as millions of people are affected by the resulting famine. Somalia has been the worst hit so far but delivering aid to the region has proved difficult since large parts of southern Somalia are controlled by the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab. Kenya, Eritrea and Ethiopia are also struggling with the humanitarian crisis.
Only July 9, southern Sudan will secede from Northern Sudan, in compliance with the South's vote for independence in January. Oil accounts for nearly all of southern Sudan's income, but Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has threatened to shut pipelines carrying southern Sudan's oil, if the two sides of the northeastern African country cannot reach an agreement on oil by the July separation.
Six more people are dead in the third straight day of fighting in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. At least 80 people have been killed since Monday. The fighting follows an attack by al-Shabab militants on a hotel in Mogadishu yesterday which killed several Somali lawmakers and other guests.
Kenyan politicians and citizens are celebrating a new constitution and a new future. Final results showed that the new constitution passed with 67 percent of the vote. The peaceful voting contrasts with the outbreaks of ethnic violence that plagued the last election, in 2007. Although this election still revealed that voters are deeply connected to their leaders on the basis of ethnicity, the smooth voting and lack of violence surrounding the results marks a major step toward democracy for the country.
American forces have killed one of the most wanted Islamic militants in southern Somalia. Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was the ringleader of a Qaeda cell in Kenya. For more details, we talk to Jeffrey Gettleman, who's covering the story for our partner, the New York Times.