This is the News in Brief, from the United Nations.
Three UN peacekeepers killed in improvised explosive attack in Mali
The UN is mourning three peacekeepers who have died in Mali after their vehicle drove over an improvised explosive device on Sunday.
The attack against a convoy of the Integrated Stabilization Mission for Mali (MINUSMA) in northern Kidal region seriously injured four other soldiers, who were also from Chad.
Improvised weapons are used frequently by violent extremists who continue to cause havoc in the central and northern Mali regions.
Conflict has also spread to Burkina Faso and Niger, displacing hundreds of thousands of people.
Condemning the incident, Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his deep condolences to the families of the victims, as well as to the Government and people of Chad.
He also wished a speedy recovery to the injured, adding that such attacks may constitute war crimes.
Mr. Guterres also called on the Malian authorities to spare no effort in identifying the perpetrators of these attacks so that they can be brought to justice swiftly.
Myanmar extends agreement with UN on access to Rohingya’s embattled home state
An agreement between Myanmar and the UN has been extended, to enable the return of mainly ethnic Rohingya Muslims to Rakhine state, it’s been announced.
This latest extension of the Memorandum of Understanding comes amid ongoing armed conflict in Rakhine, which the UN says is still “not yet conducive to the voluntary repatriation of refugees”.
In October 2017, former UN High Commissioner for Human rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein described violence against the Rohingya as tantamount to a “textbook ethnic cleansing”.
Both UN agencies have described increased humanitarian needs “among all communities” across Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh, and growing operational challenges.
Ongoing priorities include ensuring needs-based assessments in Rathedaung township.
To date the agreement with the Myanmar authorities has allowed UN teams visit more than 120 villages Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships, and ask more than 2,500 people what their most urgent requirements are.
Gains made against desert locusts in East Africa and Yemen but food security crisis remains
Significant progress has been made in preventing the spread of desert locust in East Africa and Yemen but the insects still remain a major threat to people’s food security.
That’s the assessment of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which is seeking funds to support farmers and households in 10 countries that benefit from its locust control programme.
The FAO says that 720,000 tonnes of cereal - enough to feed five million people a year - have been saved in 10 countries “but the battle is long and is not yet over", according to FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu.
While swathes of treated land are now relatively free from the winged insect, the first wave of locust swarms has reproduced and a second wave that will become adults in June.
They will take flight at a critical time when many farmers in East Africa prepare to harvest their crops, the FAO has warned.
Daniel Johnson, UN News.