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Deadly attack on blue helmet base in eastern DRC

Two peacekeepers have reportedly been killed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations said on Monday.

This follows an attack against a base of the UN mission in the country, MINUSMA, located in Mamundioma in North Kivu province, in the east.

Violence between armed groups and against civilians has fuelled a humanitarian crisis, leaving nearly 8 million in need of assistance.

Here's UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, speaking to journalists at UN Headquarters in New York:

"The attack was carried out by suspected Allied Democratic Forces. Initial reports suggest two peacekeepers are dead and several more have been wounded. The Mission deployed attack helicopters as well as Force Intervention Brigade in support of operations and to reinforce its presence. The UN Mission forces are also deployed on the road between Kamango and Mbau to restore order and protect the populations of these towns. The injured peacekeepers have been evacuated to Goma for medical assistance. And we hope to update you throughout the day with more information.

UN humanitarian official urges safe release of abducted aid worker in Darfur

A senior UN official in Sudan is calling for the safe release of a Swiss aid worker in Darfur.

Margaret Schenkel was abducted at gunpoint from her residence in El-Fasher, capital of North Darfur State, on Saturday by unknown assailants.

UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Marta Ruedas, said she was "deeply shocked" by the incident: the third of its kind over the past two years.

She issued a statement on Monday urging all parties to ensure Ms Schenkel's safe release.

"Targeting aid workers who provide neutral, impartial and life-saving humanitarian assistance is a crime under International Humanitarian Law," she added.

Human rights expert welcomes US lifting of Sudan sanctions

A UN human rights expert has welcomed the decision by the United States to lift sanctions against Sudan.

Effective this week, the US will be ending some of its trade and economic sanctions against the African country which had been in place for two decades.

They were also enforced by all of Sudan's trading partners and had a "major effect" on vulnerable groups in the country, according to UN Special Rapporteur Idriss Jazairy.

In a statement released on Monday, he said the decision "opens new perspectives for progress in Sudan and for the reduction of poverty in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda."

It also will contribute to the stability of the region, as well as restore the country's potential to become the "breadbasket of north-east Africa," he added.

Mr Jazairy is the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

He and UN Independent Expert on Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, had been working behind the scenes over the past 16 months "to bring about conditions leading to the decision," according to the statement.

Source: United Nations Radio

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