News in Brief 15 June 2017 (AM)

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A street scene in Mogadishu, the Somali capital. File Photo: AU-UN IST/Stuart Price

Terror attack on popular restaurant in Somali capital condemned by UN

An attack on a popular restaurant in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, which reportedly killed at least 19 people, has been condemned "in the strongest possible terms" by the UN envoy for the East African country.

Michael Keating said that Wednesday night's attack "was clearly aimed at civilians who were looking to break the fast" for the holy month of Ramadan; traditionally a time of peace and compassion.

He said there could be "no justification for such acts of wanton bloodshed."

The extremist terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the car bomb and gun attack on the Pizza House restaurant and the adjacent Posh Hotel.

After reportedly taking hostages, five militants involved in the attack were subsequently killed by security forces.

Mr Keating extended his heartfelt condolences to the families and victims of the deceased on behalf of the UN, as well as the broader international community.

Eritrea must take "bold action" to protect human rights: UN expert

Eritrea needs to "stop delaying action" over a catalogue of serious human rights abuses carried out against its own citizens, a UN independent expert warned on Thursday.

Sheila Keetharuth, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea, told the UN Human Rights Council that its citizens continue to suffer arbitrary arrest, so-called incommunicado detention, enforce-disappearances, and a compulsory national service system "that amounts to enslavement."

She added that the government had made "no effort" to end these violations, which the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea described as amounting to "war crimes against humanity."

She said the Eritrean government needed to "rise above the rhetoric" it had used to stonewall any action, during addresses to the Council.

World Food Programme phases out emergency operation in Swaziland

The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that it is phasing out its year-long emergency operation to combat drought in Swaziland.

The agency said that it had supported around 230,000 people affected by drought, in conjunction with the government's national response programme.

WFP Country Director Alberto Mendes thanked the international donor community for its generous support saying it had been "vital for those most in need."

Leading donors including the European Union, United States, Japan and the African Development Bank, contributed close to US$10 million.

Around 124,000 received direct food aid, with a further 142,000 choosing to use cash assistance for food.

Swaziland has been among the countries hardest hit by two consecutive years of drought attributable to the El Niño weather pattern.

WFP said it would continue helping orphans and vulnerable children, as well as its "food by prescription" project for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’27″

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