Searching for Mexico's Drug War Disappeared

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Manage episode 318266215 series 1301214
By BBC and BBC Radio 4. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
The drug-related violence in Mexico is sometimes described as being “like a war.” Certainly the death toll justifies calling it that, with three hundred thousand people killed in the past fifteen years, many of them innocent civilians. About a hundred thousand have simply disappeared, presumed dead, and with their families left to search for them. Will Grant travelled to the northern state of Sonora, and joined locals digging in the ground, both hopeful - and fearful - of what they might find. The long-running civil war in Syria has forced half the country to leave their homes: around six and a half million are internally displaced within Syria, and another six and a half million have fled abroad. Most of those who reached Europe have gone to Germany, many traumatised, having survived bombings, or lost family members in the fighting – some have been tortured. You might expect these people would form tight-knit communities, as victims of similar harsh experiences looking out for each other. However, when Michael Ertl spoke to Syrian refugees in Berlin he found a community divided by mistrust. The streets in Kazakhstan's cities are quiet now, and the Russian soldiers have gone home; the country is returning to some semblance of normality, after anti-government protests which left at least two hundred people dead. However, the country’s Defence Minister has been sacked for failing to quell the protests when they started, and the head of Kazakhstan’s intelligence agency, the KNB, has been arrested for treason. Meanwhile, Abdujalil Abdurasulov says, thousands of protestors remain in detention, with allegations they have been tortured. Here’ a puzzle: what cost nearly a billion pounds, has not been finished, and will not do what it was designed for any time soon? The answer is: a new road in Montenegro. It was supposed to link the country’s main port to Montenegro’s neighbour, Serbia, encouraging valuable cargo to the country. However, the project is already two year’s late, and so far, this road to the sea does not actually reach the sea, but stops way short. Chinese money is involved, along with Montenegrin politicians past and present, and some allege corruption behind what Linda Pressly says is fast becoming another Balkan scandal. If it is true that cats have nine lives, then Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu must be running them a close second. A former BBC journalist, Mohamed has been caught up in no fewer than five suicide attacks, all in his home country, Somalia. Number five came last Sunday; he survived, but another suicide attack that same day killed at least eight people – just another weekend in a country torn apart by violence for the past three decades. So what makes someone like Mohamed continue to do work which places them directly in harm’s way? Mary Harper has known him for many years, and even she struggles to understand how he keeps going.

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