UN Chief ‘Disappointed’ By Climate Talks Outcome

File Photo: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks during Jordan’s King Abdullah II receiving the 2018 Templeton Prize at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC on November 13, 2018. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday he was “disappointed” by the results of a major UN climate summit in Madrid, calling it a missed opportunity to tackle the global warming crisis.

Guterres issued the statement as the COP25 concluded its marathon meeting voicing “the urgent need” for new carbon-cutting commitments but falling well short of what was needed.

“I am disappointed with the results of COP25,” Guterres said. “The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis.”

UN Condemns Reported Killing Of Four Aid Workers In Borno

 

The United Nations has condemned the reported killing of four aid workers in Borno by Boko Haram terrorists.

This follows the condemnation of the murder by French aid group, Action Against Hunger .

In a statement issued on Saturday, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, sympathised with the families of the slain workers.

“I am deeply saddened and outraged by the news of the tragic killing of four aid workers who were held captive by armed groups for almost five months.

“My thoughts go to their families, friends and colleagues who are enduring unspeakable pain and hardship,” Kallon said.

The UN humanitarian chief however called for the immediate release of Grace Taku, the only woman he said was in the Action Against Hunger team.

READ ALSO: Jihadists Execute Four Hostages In Nigeria – NGO

Regretting the continued captivity of the voluntary staff, Kallon appealed for the “immediate release of Alice Loksha, a nurse and a mother, who was abducted during an attack in Rann in March 2018.”

The four aid workers were among six humanitarian workers from Action Against Hunger abducted by Boko Haram near Damasak in Mobbar Local Government in the northern part of Borno on July 25.

One of the abductee aid workers was reportedly executed in September, leaving only Grace Taku, the only woman still in Boko Haram captivity.

See Full Statement Here:

Press release

NIGERIA: THE HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR CONDEMNS THE REPORTED KILLING OF FOUR AID WORKERS

ABUJA, 13 December – The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, condemns the announced execution of four aid workers by armed groups in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State on 13 December.

“I am deeply saddened and outraged by the news of the tragic killing of four aid workers who were held captive by armed groups for almost five months,” stated Mr Kallon. “My thoughts go to their families, friends and colleagues who are enduring unspeakable pain and hardship.”

The four men were amongst the six aid workers who were abducted on 26 July when their convoy came under attack near Damasak, in the Mobbar LGA. They were working on a health project implemented by the INGO Action Against Hunger. One of the drivers was killed during the attack and another was reportedly executed on 24 September 2019.

“I plead for the immediate release of Grace Taku, the only woman who was in the ACF team, and whose whereabouts remain unknown,” said the Humanitarian Coordinator. “I also call for the immediate release of Alice Loksha, a nurse and a mother, who was abducted during an attack in Rann in March 2018.”

“This is another sad day for the people of Nigeria and the humanitarian community supporting them,” regreted Mr Kallon. “These colleagues were devoting their lives to helping the most vulnerable communities in Borno State. Despite the risks, they were driven by the values of solidarity and humanity.”

The United Nations and NGO partners in Nigeria are working to bring vital assistance to over seven million people in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. They are increasingly the target of violent attacks. Seven aid workers have been killed since the beginning of the year, amongst 26 UN and NGO workers having lost their lives in the conflict since 2011.

“Violence against humanitarian actors jeopardizes access to much needed assistance for people affected by the armed conflict,” stressed the Humanitarian Coordinator. “I renew the call for all armed actors to respect the principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality which guide humanitarian assistance, and to ensure the protection of aid workers.”

US ‘Foolish’ For Calling UN Security Meeting, Says North Korea

This picture taken on July 25, 2019 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 26 shows a new-type of tactical guided short-range missile being launched at an undisclosed location in North Korea.  KCNA VIA KNS / AFP

 

North Korea’s foreign ministry on Thursday criticised the United States as “foolish” for convening a UN Security Council meeting over growing concern about short-range rockets fired from the isolated state.

Washington on Wednesday used the meeting to warn of consequences for North Korea if it followed through with its promise of an ominous “Christmas gift” in the event that the US does not come up with concessions by the end of the year.

“By arranging the meeting, the U.S. did a foolish thing which will boomerang on it, and decisively helped us make a definite decision on what way to choose,” North Korea’s foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

Trump has met three times with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, but frustrated North Korea is seeking a comprehensive deal that includes sanctions relief.

“The U.S. talks about dialogue, whenever it opens its mouth, but it is too natural that the U.S. has nothing to present before us though dialogue may open,” it added.

North Korea said it has “nothing to lose more and we are ready to take a countermeasure corresponding to anything that the U.S. opts for”.

At the UN Security Council, US ambassador Kelly Craft voiced concern that North Korea was indicating it would test intercontinental ballistic missiles “which are designed to attack the continental United States with nuclear weapons”.

But she said the United States, which used its presidency of the Security Council to convene the meeting, wanted to work towards a deal.

She appeared, however, to rule out meeting North Korea’s demands for an offer in the final weeks of 2019: “Let me be clear: The United States and the Security Council have a goal — not a deadline.”

AFP

#HumanRightsDay: We Have A Duty To Ensure Young People’s Voices Are Heard – UN

The United Nations in commemoration of Human Rights Day says it is the duty of everyone to ensure that the voices of young people are heard.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in a statement issued in Geneva on Monday said the world owe a debt of gratitude to children, teenagers and young adults who have been standing up and speaking out more and more loudly about the crisis facing our planet.

“We have a duty to ensure young people’s voices are heard.

“All human beings have a right to participate in decisions that have impact on their lives. In order to ensure more effective decision-making, and to build greater trust and harmony across their nations, the leaders of every society should be listening to their people – and acting in accordance with their needs and demands,” the statement read in part.

She also shared on her Twitter picture from her meeting with popular teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg noting the importance of giving audience to young people

“We have a duty to ensure young people’s voices are heard. I had the pleasure to meet @GretaThunberg for & we had an inspiring conversation. She is a living proof that we all have a role to play to create the future we want. We need to !she posted.

The United nations a tweet also stressed that young people are drivers of political, economic and social transformation and their participation is essential for achieving Global Goals.


Bachelet however stressed that young people are rightly pointing out that it is their future is at stake and they cannot be left alone to handle these challenges.

According to her, joint effort is needed to tackle these challenges.

young people will have to bear the full consequences of the actions, or lack of action, by the older generations who currently run governments and businesses, the decision-makers on whom the future of individual countries, regions and the planet depends.

“It cannot, of course, be left to young people alone to tackle the climate emergency, or indeed the many other human rights crises that are currently causing simultaneous turbulence in so many countries across the world.

“All of us must stand together, in solidarity, and act with principle and urgency.

“We can, and must, uphold the painstakingly developed universal human rights principles that sustain peace, justice and sustainable development. A world with diminished human rights is a world that is stepping backwards into a darker past, when the powerful could prey on the powerless with little or no moral or legal restraint,” she concluded.

Nobel Peace Laureate Kyi Arrives UN Court For Genocide Hearing

Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi looks on as she attends the 10th ASEAN-UN Summit in Bangkok, on the sidelines of the 35th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.  Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP

 

Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi arrived at the UN’s top court on Tuesday to personally defend Myanmar against accusations of genocide against Rohingya Muslims.

Wearing traditional Burmese dress, Myanmar’s civilian leader did not speak to waiting media as she stepped out of a car and entered the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

AFP

UN Talks Out Of Sync With Global Climate Demands

 

UN climate negotiations in Madrid remained bogged down Monday in the fine print of the Paris treaty rulebook, out-of-sync with a world demanding action to forestall the ravages of global warming.

The 196-nation talks should kick into high-gear Tuesday with the arrival of ministers, but on the most crucial issue of all — slashing the greenhouse gas emissions overheating the planet — major emitters have made it clear they have nothing to say.

Only the European Union is dangling the prospect of enhanced carbon-cutting ambitions, to be laid out this week in its European Green New Deal.

The arrival Tuesday of Michael Bloomberg, who has thrown his hat — and a ton of money — into the US presidential contest, will underscore how much easier the task might be with a Democrat rather than a climate denier in the White House.

“I’m going to #COP25 in Madrid because President Trump won’t,” Bloomberg tweeted.

Observers say the case for a global Marshall Plan on global warming has become overwhelming.

A quartet of recent UN science reports catalogued a crescendo of deadly heatwave, flooding and superstorms made more destructive by rising seas, and projected far worse impacts just over the horizon.

Every year that CO2 and methane emissions continue to rise — as they have for decades — compresses the task of drawing them down fast enough to avoid catastrophic warming into an impossibly narrow time frame.

A youth-led movement, meanwhile, led by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg — a magnet for climate hope and fear — has seen millions of protesters spill into the streets, with tens of thousands in Madrid on Friday.

Even forward-looking businesses and corporations are pushing for a rapid and well-ordered transition to a low-carbon world.

Fossil Fuel Taboo

On Monday 631 institutional investors managing $37 trillion — a third of the world’s monetary assets — called for a price on carbon and end to fossil fuel subsidies.

But governments are waiting until next year’s deadline to unveil revised emissions reduction commitments.

“Negotiations, by their nature, are ‘I’ll give you this, if you give me that’,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the World Resources Institute, a Washington-based climate policy think tank.

“So we are standing and watching our house on fire. I’ve got a hose, you’ve got a hose, but I’m not going to turn mine on until you do.”

At the same time, the rising tide of urgency has clearly permeated the “climate bubble” of diplomats, policy wonks, NGOs and business leaders that gather in a new city each year.

“Delegates are finally saying the ‘F’ words — Fossil Fuels,” said Catherine Abreu, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada, an umbrella organisation of activists.

For 25 years, she noted, it has been more-or-less taboo to point an accusing finger within the UN negotiations directly at the cause of global warming — the burning of fossil fuels.

It is no coincidence that the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement — which calls for capping the rise in temperatures to “well below” two degrees Celsius — does not mention “fossil fuel”, “oil”, “coal” or “natural gas”.

Climate-Addled World

Last month, however, a United Nations report showed for the first time that fossil fuel production planned or in the pipeline will overwhelm efforts to hold warming to levels consistent with a liveable planet.

Negotiators are addressing a trio of politically-charged technical issues before the Paris Agreement becomes operational at the end of next year.

One is reworking rules for largely dysfunctional carbon markets.

Another is so-called “loss and damage”.

Under the bedrock UN climate treaty, rich nations agreed to shoulder more responsibility for curbing global warming, and to help developing countries prepare for unavoidable future impacts — the twin pillars of “mitigation” and “adaptation”.

But there was no provision for helping countries already reeling in a climate-addled world, such as Mozambique — recently hit by devastating cyclones — and small island states disappearing under the waves.

“There must be a path forward that ensures vulnerable countries will see finance and capacity-building support substantially scaled-up to address the loss and damage they are already experiencing,” said Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Even fixing a timetable for periodic reviews of carbon-cutting pledges has proven too contentious for frontline climate negotiators to resolve.

Climate Change Threatens End Of Trail For Niger’s Nomadic Herders

 

 

Ali’s sharp eyes scanned the heat-shimmered horizon, searching in vain for clouds.

It was noon and 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) on the ninth day of their quest to reach new pastures.

There was no tree anywhere, no shelter at all for his family, 27 sheep and six camels.

“We heard that the first rain has fallen in the north. That’s where we’re going,” the turbaned herder said, as he filled up a water bottle at the side of the road.

An arduous trail lay ahead: more than 100 kilometres (60 miles) across the arid wastes of southern Niger before the family reached their goal.

There at Bermo, they counted on joining thousands of other herders, spending a few months in verdant hollows on the edge of the Sahara, famous for their moist air, juicy grass and water.

The annual migration of the nomadic Fulani community — also called Peuls — is a vast caravan of herder folk that tails back to neighbouring Nigeria.

Women and children perched on donkeys already overburdened with bags of jute, plastic containers, mattresses and gourdes. Scrawny cows, sheep and goats trailed alongside in the baking heat, looking exhausted.

Vulnerable

Nomadic herders are among the world’s most exposed communities when it comes to the impact of climate change.

Higher temperatures, shifting winds and moisture levels that alter rainfall patterns, sandstorms, torrential rain — all can change the quality or even the location of pasture on which migrating herders depend.

This year, for the Fulani, has been relatively good.

The herdsmen were able to draw on stocks of animal feed to help them survive stress points, while timely rainfall on some areas of the migration trail helped tender young grass to grow.

But whether this respite endures is the big question.

Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, depends on farming, particularly herding, to provide a livelihood for 80 per cent of its population.

In addition to its vulnerability to climate change, the country is on the frontline of desertification — the equivalent of around 150,000 football pitches is lost each year.

Capricious

“The weather has become completely unpredictable,” said Djafarou Amadou, an engineer working for a group called the Association to Revitalise Herding in Niger (AREN).

“What we fear most are pockets of drought which take people by surprise when they least expect it.”

In 2018, more than 60,000 people, gathered in Bermo, celebrated when the rain began to fall as early as May.

But after a few weeks, the precious rain suddenly stopped. None fell for the next 30 days. The green plains turned yellow and the price of cereal fodder on local markets rocketed.

Rouada Sabgari, an elderly herder, said that he had to sell off his skinniest cows at rock-bottom prices just to survive — a mere 5,000 CFA francs ($8.4, 7.6 euros) per animal, compared with more than 200,000 francs at better times.

Every winter, Sabgari said, he camps nearby a well dug by his grandfather more than half a century ago, six kilometres (four miles) from the village of Bermo.

He is part of a Fulani clan called the Wodaabe, famous for travelling extremely long distances with their herds, from Niger to the Central African Republic via Cameroon and Chad.

They are also nicknamed the Mbororo, like the hardy strain of reddish, large-horned steers they drive.

There is little that Sabgari doesn’t know about survival and resilience.

But he said he wondered whether his children will be able to carry on the ancient herding traditions.

Successive droughts over the past 10 years have caused him to lose half of his herd.

Today, he only has 32 cows — a catastrophic loss of capital for him and his 25-member family.

In the Fulani culture, cattle are the measure of wealth and freedom. According to their beliefs, at the making of the world, the cow was created by God (Gueno) himself, using a drop of milk.

Lethal droughts

Seated on a mat in front of his tent, on a plain swept by winds and plastic bags snared on thorny bushes, Sabgari looked back on a life of hardship and brutal change.

“In the old days, we didn’t eat cereal or meat. The milk was rich and plentiful, it made us strong just by itself,” he said. “It’s impossible to do that today.”

Sabgari said the worst droughts, in 1974 and 1984, were turning points for Sahel herders. They lost half of their cattle.

“We were unprepared for it,” he recalled. “Everyone fled (south) to Nigeria. The animals were so thin and tired that we had to lift them to get them on their feet. Even the people were dying. There was nothing in markets.”

Prayers to God to raise this “curse” and bring rain went in vain.

After the big droughts, smaller ones followed — and food insecurity gradually became chronic, worsened by a jihadist insurgency and the displacement of the rural population it caused.

“Today, we have fewer animals and smaller harvests and more mouths to feed,” said the engineer Amadou.

Niger is the sixth poorest country in the world but has the planet’s highest fertility rate at more than seven children per woman on average.

The crunch

Dwindling harvests, relentless population pressure, climate uncertainty, pollution of underground aquifers, the rivalry between herders and farmers over access to land: all this is a deadly mixture.

In recent times, even in good years such as 2019, the phantom of hunger has never gone away.

Harvests and livestock production are in surplus and the price of millet, sorghum and corn has fallen.

Yet despite this, between June and August, 1.2 million Nigeriens were in a position of serious food insecurity, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Barka Azzey, 38, is a testimony to how herder families in Niger can be ground down by repeated crises.

His once-proud herd of 40 cows dwindled from hunger and diseases, leaving only scrawny beasts that gave no more milk and were unable to have calves.

It was time to quit.

“We didn’t have enough to eat, to buy clothes, so I took my family and we went to live in the town,” Azzey said, his voice betraying sadness.

He became a watchman, living with his wife Rabi and their five children in the grounds of a wealthy trader in Maradi, Niger’s second-largest town.

On the floor of his hut, three thin chickens rested in the shadow of a satellite dish where clothes were stretched out to dry.

Azzey earns a meagre 20,000 CFA francs ($34, 30 euros) a month, and to feed the children has to buy food on credit at the local grocery store.

“There’s nothing good in towns. Just despair,” Azzey said.

He is fixated by one idea — “to earn enough money to rebuild my herd and get my old life back.”

Exodus

Azzey is just one of innumerable young Nigeriens who have turned their backs on the harsh life of herding to try their luck in the cities.

In cities across West Africa, you can see these young men hustling for a few banknotes, offering to shine your shoes, sell you a SIM card for your phone or some medicinal remedy.

Many become caught in the poverty spiral and have no way out.

AREN, the British charity Oxfam and other NGOs have set up programmes in rural areas that seek to stem this human haemorrhage.

One such scheme is a dairy, set up in the village of Bermo, which employs 300 people, mainly women, to produce yoghurt and cheese that are then sold at the local market.

Help such as this has been a boon to Hadiza Attahirou, 39, who for 15 years went to Mali or Senegal to work for a few months to earn a little money.

She received two cows under a help scheme — a small income, but a lifeline.

“I can ease the burden for my husband when he goes off with the herds and pay my daughter’s school fees,” she said.

Others have benefited from micro-credit to buy farming tools or sewing machines.

Store the good times

The wheel of time turns, in the Fulani year, to Gerewol — a grand festival to mark the end of the rainy season.

In Fulani folklore, this is a time to breathe and take into account life’s blessings. Food is plentiful and the flanks of the animals are fat.

Nomadic clans arrive in Bermo from across the Sahel. Bonds of friendship and love are renewed. Weddings and births are celebrated.

The ageless rituals of courting are renewed once more, as men — their faces painted, their hair in locks and bodies decorated with magical charms — dance for the women.

Like their animals who have grown fat on the grass of Bermo, the Fulani will also stock up on this moment.

Tomorrow, they will set out once more on the trail.

They will draw on memories of these days of comradeship, love and fun — a precious fund to sustain them in the perils that lie ahead.

Before them lies furnace-like heat. Grass that will unexpectedly wither and die. Water holes that become parched.

And they will be doomed to walk further and further, in search of those elusive clouds.

West Africa’s Fulani Nomads Fight Climate Change To Survive

A Fulani herdsman guides cattle in the area surrounding Bermo, on June 27, 2019.MARCO LONGARI / AFP

 

 

They are one of the last great nomadic peoples of the planet, a community of some 35 million people scattered across 15 countries in West Africa, from the dusty Sahel down to the lush rainforests.

The Fulani are pastoral herders who migrate with their cattle, following the pendulum swing of the seasons.

But their age-old way of life is under threat.

Booming populations have intensified conflicts for land, religious extremism has shattered social bonds and climate change is driving them on an ever more desperate search for pasture.

While they are well used to the extreme conditions of this often inhospitable region, today they face threats from longer and more severe droughts to greater rain and flooding.

Niger, a country in which more than 80 percent of the population lives off agriculture, is at the forefront of the climate emergency.

The Fulanis there have seen their herds decimated by droughts and hunger in recent decades — and this decline is gaining speed.

Every year an area of over 1,000 square kilometers (380 square miles) is lost to the spreading desert and soil erosion.

The sixth poorest nation in the world also has the highest birth rates with women on average bearing seven children.

This fuels a vicious spiral that has seen demographic pressures and the struggle for resources intensify competition with farmers for land.

Many Fulani have had to abandon herding and settle down in towns in a bid to feed their families.

They have become security guards or petty traders as huge numbers of people have flowed to Niamey and other capitals in West Africa.

It is no surprise in this context that community elders speak of a “curse”.

Cows represent far more to the Fulanis than just a source of revenue: they are a symbol of freedom and a way of life to be defended ferociously.

‘We Must Stop Our War Against Nature,’ Says UN Chief On Climate

“We must stop our war against nature,” UN chief Antonio Guterres said Sunday in Madrid ahead of a key climate conference, warning against the devastating impacts of global warming.

“For many decades the human species has been at war with the planet, and now the planet is fighting back,” he said, decrying the “utterly inadequate” efforts of the world’s major economies to curb carbon pollution.

“We must stop our war against nature, and science tells us we can do it.”

Crowd Lynches Two Suspected Militants As UN Envoy Visits DRC

People gather in Oicha, on November 29, 2019, as 27 victims of the latest massacre in the country’s volatile east were being buried, with hundreds paying homage while lashing out at security forces for failing to stop attacks. Bienvenu-Marie BAKUMANYA / AFP

 

 

A crowd in eastern DR Congo on Saturday lynched two people they suspected of being members of a militia blamed for the killing of more than 100 civilians over the past month, an AFP journalist said.

The killings came on the same day that the United Nations peacekeeping chief arrived in eastern DR Congo where anti-UN protests have erupted since the militia attacks.

Munitions were found in the bags of the two people, a man and a woman dressed in civilian clothes, in the town of Beni.

The crowd of several dozen people accused them of being members of the Allied Democratic Forces, a shadowy armed group with links to Ugandan Islamists, the journalist said.

The arrival of UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix in Beni came several days after an angry mob stormed a UN base in the town in protest over a perceived failure of peacekeepers to stop militia violence.

Lacroix will visit the base of the UN mission, known by its French acronym MONUSCO, mobbed by protesters on Monday, and hold talks with the Congolese army and local authorities, a UN spokesman said.

At least seven people have been killed in clashes during the anti-UN protests this week.

– Hacked to death –

The east of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been troubled for years by militia violence, but most recent attacks are blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces or ADF, a shadowy armed group with links to Ugandan Islamists.

DR Congo forces launched operations against the ADF in the restive eastern region at the end of October. But in response the ADF has carried out massacres, in an apparent bid to discourage civilians from helping the military.

Another 27 people were hacked to death on Wednesday, bringing the number of people killed in militia violence to 107 since November 5 in and around Beni.

The European Union has also condemned the “cowardly attacks” by armed groups and called for perpetrators to be bought to justice.

“Closer cooperation is needed between the FARDC (Congolese armed forces) and MONUSCO to reinforce protective measures for civilians,” the European Union spokesman said in a statement on Friday.

MONUSCO, one of the biggest UN peacekeeping operations in the world, today comprises more than 16,500 military personnel and observers, 1,300 police and at least 4,000 civilians.

But it has struggled to make progress in a vast country beset by armed groups as well as an Ebola epidemic, poverty and poor governance.

Responding to criticism of inaction, MONUSCO says its troops are unable to deploy in combat without the approval of the host country and in coordination with national forces.

The DR Congo presidency earlier this week announced joint military operations with the UN to reestablish security in the Beni area.

AFP

Three Ebola Workers Killed In Eastern DR Congo

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 1, 2018 health workers operate within an Ebola safety zone in the Health Center in Iyonda, near Mbandaka. PHOTO: AFP

 

Three Ebola workers in eastern DR Congo have been killed, adding to the toll of people who have died fighting the nearly 16-month-old epidemic, a local UN source said Thursday.

A person working for the Congolese health ministry and two drivers were killed overnight Wednesday when an armed group attacked a complex in Biakato, Ituri province, where Ebola workers lived, the source said.

One person is reported missing and five others wounded, the source said.

Another attack, in Mangina, which is also in Ituri province, was repelled.

“Attacks by armed groups in Biakato Mines and Mangina in #DRC have resulted in deaths and injuries amongst #Ebola responders,” World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a tweet.

“We are heartbroken that our worst fears have been realised. Our focus is caring for the wounded and ensuring staff at other locations are safe.”

An outbreak of the much-feared haemorrhagic virus has killed 2,199 in North and South Kivu and Ituri provinces since August 1, 2018, according to the latest official figures.

It is the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 10th Ebola epidemic and the second deadliest on record after an outbreak that struck West Africa in 2014-16, claiming more than 11,300 lives.

Insecurity has complicated the epidemic from the outset, compounding resistance within communities to preventative measures, care facilities and safe burials.

On November 4, the authorities said more than 300 attacks on Ebola health workers had been recorded since the start of the year, leaving six dead and 70 wounded, some of them patients.

Vast tracts of eastern DRC are in the grip of armed groups, especially a shadowy militia called the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The armed forces launched an offensive in the region on October 30, prompting a wave of massacres of civilians by suspected ADF men.

Ninety-nine people have been killed by armed groups in the Beni area alone since November 5, according to the not-for-profit Congo Research Group (CRG).

The bloodshed has sparked a wave of anger at the authorities and the UN mission in the DRC, MONUSCO. Seven people have died in protests since Saturday.

AFP

Turkey, UN-Backed Libya Govt Sign Military Deal

A handout picture taken and released on November 27, 2019, by the Turkish Presidential Press service shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) shaking hands with Fayez al-Sarraj (L), the head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), during their meeting in Istanbul. Mustafa Kamaci / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP

 

 

Turkey signed a military deal late Wednesday with Libya’s UN-recognised government following a meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, his office said.

Erdogan met with the head of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Prime Minister Fayed al-Sarraj, to sign agreements on security and military cooperation, as well as maritime jurisdictions.

“We are confident that we will improve the security situation for the Libyan people together,” Fahrettin Altun, communications director at the Turkish presidency, wrote on Twitter.

He called on other countries to support the GNA.

“Stability of Libya is critically important for the safety of Libyans, regional stability, and prevention of international terrorism,” Altun tweeted.

The deal comes despite calls from the Arab League — which includes Libya — to end cooperation with Turkey in protest at its military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria last month.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE back Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman in eastern Libya who launched an offensive in April in a bid to seize Tripoli from fighters loyal to the GNA.

Turkey and Qatar openly support his rival Sarraj.

AFP