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Security Council condemns ‘heinous’ bomb attacks in Libya

21 February 2015 – The United Nations Security Council has strongly condemned yesterday’s deadly bomb attacks in al-Qubbah, Libya, claimed by an affiliate of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known by its Arabic acronym, Da’esh. According to reports, the Friday morning attack which came in three separate waves, killed at least 45 people and injured scores of others. It started when one bomber detonated his vehicle near a gas station and was followed by two car explosions near the home of Libya’s Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Government’s security headquarters. In a statement to the press this morning, the 15-member Security Council expressed deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of “this heinous act” and wished a speedy recovery to those injured. Council members stressed again that ISIL must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out. Perpetrators of these reprehensible acts of terrorism must be brought to justice, they emphasized. Such “acts of barbarism” by ISIL do not intimidate Council members but rather stiffen their resolve, members emphasized as they pledged support to global and regional effort to counter ISIL, Ansar Al Sharia entities, and other groups associated with Al-Qaida. This resolve is already stated in Security Council resolutions 2170 (2014) and 2199 (2015), they noted. All those responsible for...

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UN health agency approves rapid test for Ebola as decline in cases appears to level off

20 February 2015 – The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) today announced that it has approved for use a rapid diagnostic test kit for Ebola that can provide results in 15 minutes and correctly identify 92 percent of patients infected by the disease that has killed more than 9,400 people, mainly in West Africa. Meanwhile at UN headquarters, Dr. Bruce Aylward, who leads WHO’s response on Ebola, and Dr. David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, briefed Member States on the need to maintain the robust response to get the number of cases to zero. “As long as there is even one case of Ebola active in the human population, it’s a danger for everybody – it’s a problem for West Africa, it’s a problem for [wider] Africa and it’s a problem for the world, Dr. Nabarro told reporters after their briefing. “We must be fully engaged, all of us, until the last person with Ebola is treated and is cured.” The two doctors expressed their concerns about the recent slowdown in the pattern of decline in cases over the last four weeks in the three most affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Referring to a graph showing that the last four weeks has seen more than 120 Ebola cases a week, Dr. Aylward said “this is not what you want to see,” and...

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Following election delay, Ban calls on Nigerian government to uphold new date for polls

20 February 2015 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has strongly urged the Government of Nigeria to ensure that the new dates set for the country’s general elections are maintained following the vote’s recent postponement, according to the United Nations spokesperson’s office. The polls, originally scheduled for 14 February, was pushed back to 28 March and 11 April following appeals by the armed forces to delay the vote amid ongoing fighting in the country’s north-eastern regions against the militant group, Boko Haram. In a statement released by the UN spokesperson earlier today, the Secretary-General welcomed commitments by the candidates to the Presidency to respect the new calendar and commended the progress made by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the preparation for the elections, including the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards. In addition, the spokesperson said Mr. Ban urged all relevant national institutions to continue to work with INEC “to ensure all voters can exercise their constitutional right to participate in the elections freely and without intimidation.” Although the postponement was greeted in many quarters as an opportunity to channel the country’s collective focus on fighting Boko Haram, some Nigerians have reportedly voiced concern about the delay’s legality. “The Secretary-General nevertheless expresses strong concern over reports of election-related violence,” the statement continued. “He urges all political leaders to adhere to their commitments under the Abuja Accord, to refrain from inflammatory...

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UN Somalia envoy condemns ‘cruel and indiscriminate’ Al-Shabaab attack on Mogadishu hotel

20 February 2015 – The head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Nicholas Kay, has strongly condemned today’s attack on the Central Hotel in Mogadishu, which was claimed by Al-Shabaab. The attack resulted in the death and injury of dozens of people, including senior members of the Somali Federal Government, said Mr. Kay, adding that many of those killed and wounded were gathered for Friday prayers. “Such an indiscriminate attack against the Somali people is a cruel and despicable crime intended to rob Somalis of their hope for a better future,” he said. “Despite such inhuman atrocities, Somalis are successfully rebuilding their Government institutions and security forces after more than two decades of state failure and conflict.” Mr. Kay, who is also the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said the United Nations in Somalia remained resolute in its support for the Somali people and would continue working to help Somalis realise their hopes and aspirations for a peaceful and stable future. He also offered sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives in the attack, and to the people and Federal Government of...

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Libya: UN mission condemns latest ‘cowardly’ terror attack, urges political unity

20 February 2015 – The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has strongly deplored a string of suicide car bombings that struck the eastern city of Al-Qubbah in the latest terror attack to afflict the war-torn country. The attack came earlier this morning in three separate waves with one bomber detonating his vehicle near a heavily frequented gas station while two others exploded their car bombs near the home of Libya’s Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aqila Saleh Kuweider, and the Government’s security headquarters. According to reports, the bombings left at least 45 dead and many others injured. In a statement released today, UNSMIL “totally rejected” the “cowardly acts” and issued condolences to the families of the victims. “The Mission believes that the best response to counter terrorism and violence is for the Libyans to forge ahead with the search for a political solution to end the conflict and restore stability and unity to the country and the State institutions,” the statement added. Libyan stakeholders have been convening in a series of UN-facilitated meetings aimed at resolving the North African nation’s political crisis and bringing about military de-escalation across the country. Nonetheless, the violence has stirred concerns within Libya and across the international community about the country’s deteriorating security situation, particularly following the arrival of militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)...

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