News in Brief 08 August 2016 (AM)

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Photo: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino

Killing of peacekeeper in Mali condemned by UN chief

The death of a peacekeeper in the Kidal region of northern Mali on Sunday has been condemned by the UN Secretary-General.

The "blue helmet" was travelling in a convoy from the UN mission in the country, MINUSMA, when the vehicle he was in hit an improvised explosive device.

Four of his colleagues were also injured in the attack.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called for those responsible to be brought to justice.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr Ban underlined that attacks targeting UN peacekeepers may constitute war crimes.

He stated that such attacks will not weaken UN efforts to support Mali's Government and people in achieving lasting peace and stability.

Concerns over allegations against aid chief in Gaza

Recent allegations against the local head of an international charity in Gaza "raise serious concerns" for aid groups working there, a senior UN official has said.

Israel has reportedly charged the Gaza Director of World Vision International, Mohamed El Halabi, with diverting funds to the militant group, Hamas.

The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory has issued a statement in light of the developments.

Robert Piper described aid operations in Gaza as a "lifeline" for more than one million Palestinians.

"Redirecting relief away from its intended beneficiaries would be a profound betrayal of the trust put in a senior manager by his employer and by the organization's donors," he stated.

Mr Piper said both beneficiaries and the wider aid community "would pay a high price for such acts."

Mr El Halabi has the right to a fair trial, he said, adding that "we now need to wait for the legal process to take its course."

Japan supports education for displaced Iraqi children

A US$3 million contribution from Japan to the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) will support education programmes for displaced children living in camps in Anbar Governorate in Iraq.

The money will go towards establishing temporary learning spaces in tented classrooms or rented spaces, in addition to providing education materials, teacher training and recreational activities.

UNICEF estimates that at least three million Iraqis, nearly half of them children, have been displaced due to protracted violence in the country.

Recent Government operations to reclaim areas controlled by armed groups have displaced an additional 200,000 people, including more than 85,000 civilians in Anbar Governorate, according to the agency.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 2'43"

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