News in brief 1 May (PM)

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Thousands of civilians have arrived into Aburoc, South Sudan, following the resumption of the government offensive and clashes along the West Bank of the Nile River. Photo: OCHA/Gemma Connell

South Sudanese government urged to protect thousands from attack

Thousands of South Sudanese civilians sheltering in and around the town of Aburoc, in Upper Nile State, need government protection from attack. That's according to the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the country on Monday.

Serge Tissot, also called on opposition forces to ensure that highly-populated areas remain demilitarized.

Renewed fighting last year between troops loyal to South Sudan's president and his former deputy, has fuelled a humanitarian crisis with nearly two million displaced and just under six million in need.

Here's UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric.

"An inter-agency mission travelled to Aburoc on Saturday and found about 30,000 Shilluk civilians including new arrivals and those displaced during the earlier offensive on Wau Shilluk. Displaced people are in urgent need of clean water and other life-saving assistance."

Meanwhile, at the UN Mission in South Sudan or UNMISS, the first elements of the Regional Protection Force have started to arrive, under the leadership of Rwandan Brigadier Jean Mupenzi.

UNFPA assists rehabilitation of freed Yazidi prisoners

A group of 36 Yazidis enslaved by extremists from the ISIL terrorist group, have been released from slavery and are now being cared for by at special service points set up by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) with the support of the Dutch government.

The survivors include women, men and children, who had been held by ISIL or Daesh, for nearly three years.

More details from Stéphane Dujarric.

"They have been provided with first response assistance, including lodging, clothing, medical and psychosocial first aid, even as they are being reunited with their families. It is assessed that up to 1,500 women and girls remain in captivity and may be exposed to protracted sexual abuse by Daesh."

Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, said that the UN, through UNFPA, would do "everything possible to provide the kind of specialised medical and psychological support these women and girls need."

She said they had endured "unimaginable" suffering at the hands of ISIL, which still controls areas of Syria and Iraq.

Staffan de Mistura joining high-level peace talks on Syria in Astana

The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has announced he will be attending talks aimed at de-escalating the violence which continues to convulse Syria, due to take place on 3 and 4 May, in Kazakhstan.

The talks in Astana which began in January, have attempted to safeguard an extended ceasefire, involving representatives of the Syrian government and opposition, and convened by Iran, Russia and Turkey.

Mr de Mistura accepted the invitation from the Kazakh government to attend as an official observer "in view of the urgency and importance" of rebuilding confidence between the parties to the civil war, now in its seventh year, said a statement from his office.

The statement added that the envoy will "use the opportunity to conduct political consultations with the ceasefire guarantors" as he is "putting the finishing touches on his deliberations" on the next round of UN-backed intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

The Security Council has reiterated that those talks remain the "prime forum for advancing a political process" the statement said.

Paulina Kubiak, United Nations.

Duration: 3'00"

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