News in Brief 11 April 2017 (PM)

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Michael Keating. UN Photo/Cia Pak

"At least a dozen attacks" by Somali extremists in 10 days, condemned by UN

"At least a dozen attacks" perpetrated by the extremist group Al-Shaabab in Somalia over the past 10 days have been condemned by the head of the UN Mission in the country (UNSOM).

Michael Keating said that the attacks had caused "carnage," resulting in 28 dead and 31 injured.

Drought and military conflict have fuelled food insecurity, threating the possibility of famine in the Horn of Africa nation, despite increasing political stability.

Around 6.2 million are in need of assistance.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"Mr. Keating called the attacks on civilians "unjustifiable" and said "this is a perverse and inhumane way to make a political point and achieve nothing."

This year, 337 people, mostly civilians, have been killed or injured by 87 improvised explosive devices or IEDs. Civilian casualties from these devices have increased by over 50% since this time in 2015."

"Deep concern" for 400,000 trapped in eastern Ghouta, Syria

The UN is deeply concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation facing around 400,000 people trapped by government forces, in Syria's eastern Ghouta.

The town, situated in the province of Rural Damascus, close to the capital, has suffered heavy aerial bombardment and artillery shelling, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries, said Stéphane Dujarric, in his briefing to reporters at UN Headquarters on Tuesday.

"Since late March, Government forces reportedly have prevented commercial trucks from entering eastern Ghouta, resulting in price hikes of basic staples, leading to many bakeries shutting down due to lack of flour and much higher prices for fuel and gas. It is critical that the UN and partners be given access to the area before the conditions deteriorate further."

Mr Dujarric said the last UN humanitarian aid to reach eastern Ghouta was nearly six months ago.

He reminded all warring parties in Syria's six-year long civil war of their obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure as required under international law.

Crowd attacks UN convoy in CAR: one staff member injured

A staff member of the UN Mission, MINUSCA, in the Central African Republic (CAR) has been injured after a crowd attacked a convoy on Tuesday.

MINUSCA personnel were visiting Bornou village, in the centre of CAR, following reports that a person had been killed there.

A crowd gathered and began throwing stones at the convoy, injuring one female staff member.

Vladimir Monteiro, MINUSCA spokesperson, said that the Mission had been subject to previous isolated incidents that were similar, but team members were advised to remain calm and not over-react.

"Sometimes these kinds of incidents are fuelled by armed groups or other people with a hidden agenda. We want to ensure them that we are impartial, and we are here to help them."

He said MINUSCA was working alongside local authorities to try and improve social cohesion in the country, which is still recovering from sectarian conflict which erupted in 2013.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’45″

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