News in Brief 13 May 2016 (AM) – Geneva

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Gambela region in Ethiopia, which is targeted by cross-border cattle raiders from South Sudan.

Abducted Ethiopian children begin recovery after release 

In Ethiopia, help is being provided to children who were abducted during a cattle raid in the west of the country but later released, the UN said Friday.

UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said that 10 children had been set free on Wednesday, in addition to the 19 released last week.

A total of 146 children were taken during the attack, which has been blamed on South Sudanese groups which target the marginalized Gambela region.

Here's UNICEF's Christophe Boulierac:

"You might know that these cattle raids are not new, but what is new is that they have become increasingly lethal….traditionally they did not involve killings but now they do and now children are abducted."

UNICEF says that the released youngsters are aged between four months and nine years old.

Some have severe acute malnutrition which they are being treated for, along with psychological support.

To date the raids have forcibly displaced 18,000 people.

Torture concerns for Gambia protesters

In Gambia, concern is growing for dozens of protesters who've been arrested in the capital Banjul amid reports that some have been tortured.

According to the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, the activists were detained after peaceful demonstrations in mid-April.

Some of them are still in detention and family members have not been allowed to visit.

Others have also been reportedly denied medical care.

Here's OHCHR spokesperson Rupert Colville:

"We urge the Gambian government to release all those who have been arrested and detained for simply having exercised their rights to freedom of expression, freedom and assembly."

The UN office also reiterated its call to the Gambian authorities to investigate the reported death in custody of Solo Sandeng, chairman of the youth wing of the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP).

And OHCHR says it's deeply worried Alhagie Ceesay, head of Teranga FM radio station, who has been on trial for sedition and false information since July 2015, and who was last seen alive a month ago.

Fighting forces thousands of Colombians from their homes

An increase in recent forced displacement has been observed in Colombia, in the western department of Chocó , the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has said.

In the past two months, more than 6,000 people have fled conflict between armed groups fighting for territory in that part of the country.

Here's UNHCR's William Spindler.

"An additional 7,000 people have found their movements severely restricted because of the fighting which is concentrated around the Baudo, Atrato and San Juan rivers. To date, the displacement had mostly affected Afro-Colombians and indigenous people. For those people access to livelihoods, including fishing, hunting and agriculture, had been completely cut off and their children were no longer able to go to school."

UNHCR is working with the Colombian authorities and other aid agencies to provide urgent assistance to the displaced communities.

A peace dialogue was launched in 2012 to help put an end to more than 50 years of armed conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia or FARC.

El Niño "weakening very rapidly"

The El Niño phenomenon which triggers extreme weather events like droughts and floods is weakening very rapidly, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has said.

However, climate patterns in some parts of the world would continue to be influenced by it until mid-year, the agency said.

Meanwhile, it's expected that the opposite phenomenon called La Niña would develop in the third quarter of 2016.

Claire Nullis has the details.

"La Nina has the opposite effect to El Nino so parts of the world that saw drought because of El Nino are likely to see above average rainfall when they get to La Nina, is this good news? This depends. When you have communities that are weakened by drought, it is not good to see flash floods immediately afterwards. It's two sides to every coin."

El Niño is currently affecting an estimated 60 million people worldwide, according the UN.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 3’59″

 

 

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