For the night of 23 October 2014
North Korea-South Korea: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday repeated its call for the South Korean government to prevent activists from using large balloons to float anti-DPRK leaflets across the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea. North Korea warned that north-south relations will be pushed to "an uncontrollable catastrophe," if the Seoul government does not stop the practice.
"Leaflet scattering is a very dangerous act which may not only drive the north-south relations into catastrophe but spark off even a war," the Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a information bulletin.
Civic groups in South Korea reportedly will launch another campaign of dropping leaflets carrying with anti-DPRK propaganda this Saturday. Pyongyang said it will be watching with vigilance what takes place in South Korea.
Comment: This has been a curious month in several respects. The most obvious dangers were the two shooting incidents along the Demilitarized Zone. The incident on the 10th was a balloon burst from North Korean gunfire. Both sides declined to escalate. The most analgesic was the promise of more high level talks, which appeared to set conditions for effective crisis management.
Nevertheless, shooting across the DMZ does not promote stability. Every incident is a test of South Korean vigilance, readiness and reaction time.
Libya: On 23 October Libyan army troops returned to Benghazi, the first time in two months. The city has been under the control of Islamist militias.
"The advance was a significant boost to the troops, though fighting was still raging in Benghazi and the army had a long battle ahead," said Meloud al-Zewi, spokesman for Libya's special forces.
Al-Zewi said Libyan troops first took the district where Benghazi's airport is located and spread out from there to take control of other districts.
Comment: The offensive reportedly began on 15 October, after a long period of inaction. Earlier this month the government of Prime Minister al Thinni decided to cooperate with the forces of retired General Hifter in trying to break the hold of the Islamist militias on Benghazi. Libyan army special forces were among the units that sided with and supported Hifter.
Nigeria-Boko Haram: A group of Boko Haram fighters kidnapped at least 60 girls from Garta on Saturday, according to a Catholic Bishop from Garta. They slit the throats of four men, burned houses and hunted house-to-house for girls and women..
Comment: The latest abductions occurred in a village near that from which Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls in April. The talk of a ceasefire and the return of the girls appears to be a Nigerian government stunt to divert political pressure.
End of NightWatch for 23 October.
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