News in Brief 17 March 2016 (PM)

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Schools burned by Boko Haram in 2013 in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, northeastern Nigeria. Photo: IRIN/Aminu Abubaka

Double suicide attacks in Nigeria condemned by UN chief

The attacks carried out by two female suicide bombers in north-east Nigeria on Wednesday which left 20 dead and many others injured, have been condemned by the UN Secretary-General.

Ban Ki-moon, in a statement on Thursday, extended his "heartfelt condolences" to the families of the victims and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.

The attacks took place in and around a mosque in the city of Maiduguri.

An insurgency by the terrorist group Boko Haram in the region has left thousands dead or displaced since 2009.

Mr Ban reiterated the UN's support for the Nigerian government in its fight against terrorism, stressing that it needed to be grounded in international law.

Security Council briefed on Western Sahara mission

The UN Security Council was briefed on developments on Thursday, which threaten to "seriously impede" the functioning of its Mission in Western Sahara.

The UN Mission, known as MINURSO, has been tasked with monitoring the region since 1991 and organizing a referendum on self-determination there.

The Moroccan government announced its intention to reduce "significantly" the civilian component of the mission on Tuesday and end its contributions, following a public dispute with the UN Secretary General.

Here's UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"The Permanent Mission of Morocco transmitted to the Secretariat a list of 84 international civilian members of MINURSO as well as the African Union who 'should leave the kingdom of Morocco within three days'. As we have said, all of these measures would seriously impede the functioning of MINURSO and negatively impact on its ability to deliver its mandate, granted to it by the Security Council."

UN providing emergency aid to 35,000 newly-displaced in Iraq

The United Nations and its humanitarian partners in Iraq are rushing to provide aid to around 35,000 newly-displaced people in a hard-to-reach area of the country.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator there, Lise Grande, said that the people had been trapped in the town of Heet, west of the city of Ramadi, and were now trying to reach safety.

Here's UN spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric again.

"The UN doesn't have full access and we are very worried that some of the families who are escaping in areas are very close now to the front lines…the UN and its partners have requested US$861 million for 2016 to provide emergency relief to 7.3 million vulnerable Iraqis. As of today, only 9 per cent – that's about US$75 million – have been received."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’19″

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