World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Gunman is reported on Yale campus

NEW HAVEN — Police officers swarmed onto Yale University, asked nearby shops to shut down and warned students not to go outside after a gunman was reported on campus Monday morning.

There were no immediate reports of shots being fired, and by early afternoon it was not clear whether any gunman existed. Still, the threat brought police teams from local and state departments as well as the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to Yale’s Old Campus, where many freshmen live, and several streets were blocked off. Around 1:45 p.m., students were told by text message that the police were about to begin doing room-to-room searches.

Around 9:50 a.m. a call lasting a few seconds came into 911 from a pay phone off campus saying matter-of-factly that the caller’s roommate “was heading toward campus with a gun” to shoot people, said Officer David Hartman, a spokesman for the New Haven police. Several people reported seeing a man with a gun, Hartman said.

“There is a fairly well confirmed report of somebody on campus with a long gun,” he said a couple of hours after the search began. Police were also checking surveillance videos from the area. But later, Hartman said police had determined that at least some of the people who reported seeing a person with a gun had actually been looking at a police officer, and that another person had seen only a backpack. Police did not release a description of the gunman, and noted that the witnesses’ description of him did not all match.

“We don’t have a suspect,” Hartman said around 2 p.m. “We have nothing tangible.”

The campus was busy over the weekend for the annual Harvard-Yale football game, but many students had left by Monday, since classes are out for Thanksgiving break.

—Robert Davey and Ariel Kaminer, The New York Times

Government abuse drives Eritreans to flee, UN

GENEVA — Severe government abuse, not harsh living conditions, is driving thousands of Eritreans to flee their country every month and risk their lives trying, often by precarious means, to reach other countries, a U.N. investigator said Monday. Her assertion puts a spotlight on an exodus that resulted in tragedy last month when hundreds of migrants, many of them Eritreans, drowned as they tried to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.

Complete deprivation of freedom and security, a “blanket disrespect of fundamental human rights” and the desire to “find a place where they feel protected” was pushing 2,000 to 3,000 Eritreans to flee their country every month, the investigator, Sheila B. Keetharuth, a U.N. special rapporteur, said in a statement after a 10-day visit to Tunisia, where she interviewed Eritrean migrants.

Most of those she interviewed spoke of a daily struggle to get food and water but said that was not their main reason for leaving, said Keetharuth, a human rights lawyer from Mauritius. Instead, they cited a system of compulsory and open-ended military service in Eritrea in which they said punishment amounting to torture and detention in inhumane, degrading conditions was routine. Women said they were particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse by officers, Keetharuth said.

The thousands of Eritreans fleeing the country are well aware that the risks they face crossing deserts and seas may be life-threatening, Keetharuth said. “Nobody in his right mind would take such a decision,” she quoted a young Eritrean man as telling her. “We do it because there is no other choice.”

More than 7,500 Eritreans reached Italy in the first nine months of the year, the U.N. said, but the dangers of the journey, often made in rickety boats operated by smugglers, were starkly exposed in October when more than 300 people drowned as their boat sank off the coast of Italy.

—Nick Cumming-Bruce, The New York Times