News in Brief 08 November 2016 (PM)

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Stéphane Dujarric. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

Explosives experts sent to Goma following attack on peacekeepers

Explosives experts have been despatched to the scene of an attack on Tuesday which left one girl dead and 32 UN peacekeepers injured in the town of Goma, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

According to news reports, the peacekeepers, all from India, were attacked as they were exercising.

Five of the troops from the UN Mission MONUSCO, were seriously wounded.

More details from UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"According to preliminary reports, the explosion was caused by an Improvised Explosive Device. All injured peacekeepers, in addition to Congolese civilians, are receiving medical treatment in Goma. A MONUSCO Quick Reaction Force was immediately dispatched at the scene. MONUSCO has also deployed an investigation team, which includes explosives experts."

The head of the MONUSCO is expected to travel to Goma shortly, to assess the situation on the ground.

Our thoughts are with the family of the young victim and colleagues who were injured, added Mr Dujarric.

"Great concern" for civilians in need as fight for Raqqa begins

There's "great concern" for more than 400,000 civilians in need around Raqqa, in Syria, headquarters of the ISIL terrorist group, following the start of an offensive to recapture the city.

A joint Kurdish-Arab militia operation began over the weekend, to encircle the city and cut off the terrorists' supply routes.

The last time that a UN aid convoy reached the northern Syrian city was in October 2013.

Stéphane Dujarric said concern for the safety and security of residents was growing, along with the deteriorating conditions facing 150,000 internally-displaced.

"The majority of the population of Raqqa district is reportedly facing critical problems in meeting their immediate needs. Depending on population movements, the UN and partners plan to respond to the needs of internally displaced people through whichever way is more appropriate, including cross-line and cross-border operations."

"Actions and rhetoric" aimed at destabilization of Bosnia-Herzegovina

"Actions and rhetoric" aimed at destabilizing Bosnia and Herzegovina have accelerated over the last six months, according to the High Representative there.

Valentin Inzko, who briefed the UN Security Council on Tuesday, said that "the most egregious" example had been the decision by the largely autonomous Republika Srpska to hold a referendum in September, challenging the Peace Accords that ended the brutal civil war that pitted Serbs against Croats and Bosnian Muslims during the mid-1990s.

Mr Inzko said the referendum had been a fundamental challenge to the state and clear violation of the peace agreement, aimed at eventual secession.

He deplored the recent decorating of Serbian war criminals including former leader Radovan Karadzic.

The Council authorized the European Union's stabilization force for Bosnia-Herzegovina for a further 12 months, and recognized that despite growing threats, the "security environment has remained calm and stable".

Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for EU membership in February.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2'49"

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