U.N. Condemns Attack On Myanmar Security Forces, Calls For Calm

The United Nations condemned a “coordinated series of attacks” on Myanmar security forces on Friday (August 25) and called on all sides in the crisis in the northern state of Rakhine to refrain from violence.

At least 21 insurgents and 11 members of the security forces were killed in the troubled Rakhine state on Friday when militants staged a major coordinated attack on 24 police posts and an army base, the military said.

The statement, issued by the U.N. resident coordinator in Myanmar, Renata Lok-Dessallien, and read out to a Geneva news briefing, urged “all parties to refrain from violence, protect civilians and restore order”. “We are deeply concerned about the security situation in Rakhine state,” she added.

UN Experts Condemn Racist Violence In US

World Faces Worst Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945 - UN

United Nations human rights experts called on the United States on Wednesday to combat rising racist violence and xenophobia and to prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes.

United States President Donald Trump insisted on Tuesday that both left- and right-wing extremists had become violent during a weekend rally by white nationalists in Virginia, reigniting a political firestorm over race relations in the United States and his own leadership of a national crisis.

After clashes between the two sides at Saturday’s (August 12) rally, a car ploughed into opponents of the gathering, killing one woman and injuring 19 others.

A 20-year-old Ohio man, James Fields, said to have harboured Nazi sympathies, was charged with murder.

Independent U.N. experts said in a joint statement issued in Geneva that they were “outraged” by the violence in Charlottesville and the “racial hatred displayed by right-wing extremists, white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups.”

The statement was issued by Sabelo Gumedze, chair of the U.N. working group of experts on people of African descent, Mutuma Ruteere, U.N. special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, and Anastasia Crickley, chair of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Why We Searched UN Building – Army

Troops Ambush, Arrest Boko Haram Logistics Team
File Photo

The Nigerian Army has explained why it searched a building in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, belonging to the United Nations in the early hours Friday.

The Army said while it was not aware that the building belonged to the UN, the search was part of cordon and search operations and 30 other buildings were equally searched.

This was disclosed in a statement by Lieutenant Colonel Kingsley Samuel for the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, while highlighting some of the recent successes of the Army.

Read Also: Soldiers Search UN Building In Maiduguri

According to the statement, the search was necessitated by the fact that the Boko Haram Terrorists changed tactics and resorted to targeting military locations, hence the need to intensify clearance operations in the Maiduguri metropolis.

“In the last one week cordon and search operations were conducted in Jiddari –Polo, Muna Garage, Jakana amongst several other areas. On 10th August 2017, Theatre Command received information from one of its credible sources that some high-value BHT suspects had infiltrated into Pompomari Bye Pass. It, therefore, became expedient to take preemptive action by combing the general area through a cordon and search operations.

“The operation was successfully conducted as over 30 houses were searched. One of such included a property which was said to be occupied by United Nations Staff, although the property did not carry a UN designation. On the whole, operation in the general area was successfully concluded but no arrest was made because the suspects were not found.

“The command wishes to assure the general public that these operations are being conducted to safeguard lives and properties but not targeted at any individual or group. The general public is cautioned to avoid peddling rumours which may cause disaffection and to remain law abiding,” the Army statement read.

Reports had emerged on Friday that the Army searched a building belonging to the U.N.

A spokesperson for the organisation, Samantha Newport confirmed the incident to Reuters saying the U.N had no information on the reason for the unauthorised search.

North Korean Residents Denounce U.N. Sanctions

North Korea’s State News Agency (KCNA) on Tuesday released a video showing Pyongyang residents denouncing the United Nations’ latest sanctions imposed on the country.

In the footage, filmed by KCNA, which could not be independently verified by Reuters, Pyongyang residents equated the new sanctions to an act of war which cannot be accepted.

United Nations Bans Key North Korea Exports Over Missile Tests

Some resident said: “The so-called big countries, which have fabricated the sanctions, are the ones who have conducted most of the nuclear tests and the test-launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) whenever they want. We cannot ever accept such illegal resolution which are trying to incriminate the development of our self-defensive nuclear force.”

“Such extreme sanctions against a sovereign country are actually like an act of war. We will go straight forward along the road which we have already chosen.”

The U.N. Security Council unanimously imposed new sanctions on North Korea on Saturday aimed at pressuring Pyongyang to end its nuclear programme.

The sanctions could slash North Korea’s $3 billion (2.30 billion pounds) annual export revenue by a third.

The U.S.-drafted resolution bans North Korean exports of coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood following Pyongyang’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July.

Syrian Government Delegation Arrives In Geneva For Peace Talks

U.N. special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura and the Syrian government delegation led by Syrian ambassador to the U.N., Bashar al-Jaafari, held their first meeting on Monday in Geneva. 

The fresh round of U.N.-sponsored talks aimed at finding a political solution to the six-year war resumed.

More than 400,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the conflict, and the negotiations seek to bring the warring sides closer through discussion of four “baskets”: constitution, governance, terrorism and elections.

This new session is the seventh of a series of peace talks rounds which have been held in Switzerland for the past two years, with all of the previous ones resulting in scant progress.

Hours before the start of the talks, however, a U.S. – Russia-brokered ceasefire came into effect in southwest Syria and was still holding, in the first peace-making effort of the war by the U.S. government under President Donald Trump.

Attack On Mosul Historical Mosque May Amount To War Crime – U.N.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Friday, condemned the destruction of the leaning al-Hadba minaret that towered over Mosul for 850 years the laying to ruins of the Grand al-Nuri Mosque, demolished by retreating Islamic State militants.

OHCHR spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani said the attacks could amount to a war crime.

The demolition came on Wednesday night as Iraqi forces closed in on the mosque, which carried enormous symbolic importance for Islamic State (IS).

It was there that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” as militants seized swathes of Syria and Iraq.

He proclaimed himself the caliph, ruler of all Muslims, from the mosque’s pulpit.

The jihadists appear to have chosen to blow up the mosque rather than see their flag torn down by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces battling through the maze of narrow alleys and streets of the Old City, the last district of Mosul still under the control of Islamic State.

The mosque’s destruction comes in the holiest period of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, its final 10 days. The night of Laylat al-Qadr falls during this period, when Muslims believe the Koran was revealed to the prophet Mohammed.

South Sudan No Longer In Famine – U.N.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir

South Sudan is no longer classified as being in famine but the situation remains extremely vulnerable said United Nations Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator on Wednesday.

“The new IPC (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification) assessment in South Sudan which was just released today, shows that famine is no longer occurring in those two counties – Leer and Mayendit – and that further deterioration into famine was averted in two other counties in former Unity State,” Stephen O’Brien said.

However, 45,000 people are still expected to be facing famine-like conditions and more people are on the brink of famine today than there were in February, according to him.

Two years after emerging as an independent state, the oil-rich country was plunged into conflict in December 2013 as the rivalry between President Salva Kiir and his then-vice president, Riek Machar, exploded into violence.

The conflict has prevented many farmers from planting and harvesting their crops. Hyperinflation, which reached more than 800 percent last year, has put the price of imported food beyond the reach of many.

Director of Oxfam International Humanitarian, Nigel Timmins, decried the late response to the crisis.

“What is appalling is that it took a threat of a famine to get significant international response. As a community, we seem to have empowered famine declarations and this has led to some good results but it also seems to give the perception that anything before famine is acceptable – it isn’t,” he said.


Why I Stepped Down, Gambia’s Jammeh Explains

Gambia Election: Jammeh Given Last Chance To ResignECOWAS mounting pressure to force Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh out of office paid off after all, as he has attributed his decision to step down to the pressure from West African armies which entered the Gambia this week.

Mr Jammeh had rejected the result of the presidential election he lost to Adama Barrow, even after he had earlier said he accepted the defeat.

Jammeh is yet to leave the presidential palace but his announcement on state television overnight appears to signal an end of a political impasse. It also brings to a close a reign that began in 1994 when he seized power in a coup.

While Jammeh held on to power, tension rose, countries withdrew their nationals from the tiny nation and some 7,000 soldiers from Nigeria and Senegal entered Gambia backed by tanks and warplanes. They were poised to move into the capital as Jammeh’s army provided no resistance.

ECOWAS delegations led by Nigeria’s leader, Muhammadu Buhari had at different journeys to the country tried to convince Jammeh to hand over power but he insisted he was staying on.

After talks failed to yield a positive result, ECOWAS said it would involve military in ensuring he handed over power.

“I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation,” said Jammeh, dressed in a usual white robe and looking tired.

“It was not dictated by anything else but by the supreme interest of you the gambian people and out dear country taking into consideration my prayer that peace and security continue to reign in the Gambia.

“All those who have supported me or were against me in this period, I implore them to put the supreme interest of our nation the Gambia above all partisan interest and endeavour to work together as one nation,” he added.

Jammeh made no mention of whether he would go into exile, but said he was leaving power in the national interest and was grateful there was no bloodshed during the political stalemate.

Reuters reports that he spent much of Friday in talks in Banjul with the presidents of Guinea and Mauritania over where he would live and whether he could be offered amnesty for alleged crimes committed during his years in power.

Those talks were yet to be concluded and some in Banjul said they were angry he was being allowed to bargain and sceptical he would in fact step down, not least because he first accepted he lost the December 1 election to Barrow and then changed his mind.

In a last bid to cling to power this week, he declared a state of emergency and dissolved the cabinet. More than half the government resigned and 45,000 people fled to Senegal.

“It’s hard because we want our freedom now. But this man he can say this today and tomorrow it can be different. That’s the kind of person he is,” said Ismaila Ndiaye, 61, a plumber and stone mason as he gathered with others close to State House.

Patience Williams, 50, a dental nurse, derided the West African leaders for not taking a tougher line and said: “He’s a stubborn man. It should be surrender, handcuffs or death.”

‘Rule Of Fear’ Banished

Hours to the inauguration set date, the parliament extended Jammeh’s rule by 90 days, but that did not stop the inauguration of Mr Barrow in Senegal.

Barrow, 51, is a soft-spoken man who worked as a property developer and led an opposition coalition few thought would win.

He was sworn in at the Gambian embassy in Senegal on Thursday and called for international support.

“The rule of fear has been banished from Gambia for good,” Barrow told a crowd at a Dakar hotel on Friday, once it became clear a deal had been struck for Jammeh to relinquish power.

“To all of you forced by political circumstances to flee our country, you now have the liberty to return home,” he said. Barrow was also expected to return to the country.

The crisis was a test for regional bloc ECOWAS, not least because Jammeh held office longer than any other current president in the grouping of states. The African Union and U.N. Security Council supported the military intervention.


Britain To Deploy About 100 Troops To South Sudan- Minister

BritainUp to 100 additional British troops will join U.N. peacekeeping work in South Sudan, the defense minister said on Thursday, taking the total to around 400.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the deployment, which supplements the 300 British personnel already in the region, could help reduce the number of migrants fleeing poverty and war in Africa and the Middle East from traveling to western Europe.

“This large scale deployment underlines how we are stepping up our global commitments,” Fallon told a conference of defense ministers.

“Backed by a rising defense budget, it’s part of our effort to tackle the instability that leads to mass migration and terrorism. It will help keep Britain safe while improving lives abroad.”

Last month, the United Nations Security Council authorized the deployment of 4,000-strong protection force in South Sudan’s capital Juba after several days of fighting involving tanks and helicopters between troops loyal to President Salva Kiir and those backing former Vice President Riek Machar.

Fighting in Syria’s Hama Province Displaces 100,000- U.N.

syriaFighting in Syria’s western Hama province displaced an estimated 100,000 people between Aug. 28 and Sept. 5, the United Nations said on Wednesday, citing the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the governor of the province.

Syrian rebels launched an offensive last week in northern Hama, an area of strategic importance to President Bashar al-Assad that is home to loyalist towns populated by minority Christians and Alawites. Rebels rapidly captured the town of Halfaya. Pro-Assad forces have hit back with heavy air strikes.

Many people had fled from the fighting towards Hama city and neighbouring villages, as well as north into Idlib province, the U.N. said.

There were originally about 4,500 families in the town of Halfaya, of which 2,800 remain trapped by the fighting while the rest managed to flee, the U.N. report said.

Another 4,500 families were displaced from Taybat al Imam, out of 9,500 in that town, and 5,000 families were uprooted from the army stronghold of Soran, about half the population there.

Many of the displaced people were sleeping outdoors, but four mosques in Hama city and 12 schools in rural areas were temporarily housing people, the U.N. said.

The Red Crescent had provided aid to about 7,000 families in Hama, roughly 35,000 people, and the United Nations sent a convoy of 12 trucks to Hama on Sept. 4 with aid for another 15,000 people. Another 6,500 families still urgently need food and other aid, the U.N. said.

Unrest In Ethiopia Delays Aid To Malnourished Children – U.N.

united nations, Nigeria's economyPolitical violence in Ethiopia has delayed the distribution of aid to four million people hit by drought and floods, including malnourished children, the United Nations said on Monday.

Anti-government protests over disputed provincial boundaries and allegations of human rights violations have riven Ethiopia’s north-central Amhara province and central Oromiya province over the past three months.

“The ongoing situation in Oromiya and Amhara has slowed down dispatches and distributions of targeted supplementary feeding commodities from the Government’s main warehouse in Nazareth, Oromiya,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest update.

“The situation also affects dispatches and distributions in Afar, as a large proportion of the commodities allocated to the region are dispatched from the WFP (World Food Programme) warehouse in Kombolcha, Amhara.”

Children under five and pregnant and nursing women with moderate acute malnutrition receive specialised nutritious foods for about six months, or until they return to health.

Those with life-threatening severe acute malnutrition were not affected, the U.N. said, as there were sufficient stocks in health posts.

Ethiopia was hit in 2015 by one of the worst droughts in decades, with 10 million requiring emergency aid, which ended when the spring rains arrived in March.

The rains have brought flooding, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people while others fled their homes due to communal conflict in Oromiya and Somali regions.

In June, Human Rights Watch said security forces killed at least 400 people in Oromiya protesting at government plans to allocate land surrounding the regional capital for development.