World in Brief: July 22, 2009

Veto ends UN mission
TBILISI, GEORGIA– By the end of July, United Nations monitors who have been stationed in Georgia since 1993 will leave the country entirely. Originally sent to stabilize the region after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the UN monitors continue to represent the sole neutral body in the area.

On June 15 the BBC reported that a Russian veto crushed any hope that the UN stay in Georgia would be extended past the expiry date.

As the withdrawal completion date looms tensions in Georgia’s conflict areas, Abkazia and South Ossetia, remain on high alert.

French hostages held
MOGADISHU, SOMALIA– The BBC reports that two French hostages have been transferred to the extremist Islamic group al-Shabab.

The hostages are reportedly being shared amongst Somali insurgent groups. According to the People’s Daily Online, the two men had been posing as journalists prior to their July 14 kidnapping.

Ransom does not appear to be the ultimate goal for the involved extremist groups; they seem more interested in manipulating the foreigners’ Somali government connections.

Activist slain
NORTH CAUCASUS, RUSSIA–On July 16 Natalya Estemirova, an internationally renowned Chechen rights activist, was found murdered in Chechnya. According to the Agence France Presse, earlier that day neighbours reported Estemirova abducted. They had witnessed four men forcing her into a vehicle outside her home.

Twin terror attacks
JAKARTA, INDONESIA– The Washington Post reports that the July 17 twin bombings in Indonesia’s capital city claimed eight casualties. The separate blasts targeted the Jakarta’s Ritz-Carlton and J.W. Marriott hotels.

This is not the first time terror has been unleashed on this Muslim nation’s soil. In 2002, the Bali nightclub bombings killed over 200.