Thursday’s Daily Brief: Somalia bombing condemned, as UN expert calls for more international help; Africa faces locust swarms; new leaders for UN atomic watchdog and top economic body

25 July 2019

Our main stories today: senior UN officials condemn attacks on Somalia capital, and call for continued international support; the International Atomic Energy Agency and UN’s Economic and Social Council welcome new leaders; and the Food and Agriculture Organization warns of possible locust swarms in Horn of Africa and Yemen

UN Chief condemns deadly Somalia attacks on offices visited earlier by UN envoy…

Abdirahman Omar Osman, the Mayor of Mogadishu, speaks at a ceremony. (26 March 2018)

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned Wednesday’s “deadly terror attacks” in Somalia, that targeted the offices of the mayor of Mogadishu, reportedly killing six government officials and injured several others, including the mayor.

According to media reports, the attack was carried out by a female suicide bomber, and was claimed by terror group al-Shabab.

The new UN special envoy to Somalia, James Swan, described the bombing as a “heinous attack”, that “demonstrates a violent disregard for the sanctity of human life”, in a statement released by the Mission on Wednesday.

Read the full story here.

…As independent expert calls for international community to continue supporting the country

Seventeen-year-old Ideeya Jimcaale at her home in a camp for internally displaced persons on the beach in Bossaso, Puntland, Somalia (2018).

The following day, UN independent expert Bahame Tom Nyanduga, commended Somalians for their resilience in the face of extreme challenges such as conflict, terrorist bomb attacks, and grave violations of human rights, whilst dealing with poverty and a lack of basic necessities.

Mr. Nyanduga’s comments came in a statement released following a visit to Somalia, in which he called on the international community to continue help Somalia to strengthen its institution, and the justice and security sector, ahead of the next elections.

Earlier this month, al-Shabab reportedly claimed responsibility for an attack on the southern city of Kismayo, during which a car containing explosives was driven into a hotel, which was then stormed by gunmen. At least 26 people were killed.

More on Mr. Nyanduga’s comments here.

New leader of top UN economic and social body to push for fundamental freedoms for all

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed (second from left) addressing the opening of the 2020 session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). During the meeting, Mona Juul (second from right), Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, was elected

In her inaugural speech as President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Mona Juul, of Norway, declared that the body’s mandate today remains “as relevant and compelling” as it did back in 1945, when it was tasked with “fostering international cooperation on economic, social, and cultural issues”.

Having served as one of the four ECOSOC Vice-Presidents, Ms. Juul was elected by acclamation on Thursday morning.

The Council should promote “universal respect and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. For all”, continued the newly elected president. “Without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion”.

The new ECOSOC chief also advocated that the UN body align the “whole UN family” for improved results and under Government leadership, strive to make a difference in countries.

Full story here.

UN nuclear watchdog agency appoints interim chief, following death of Director General

International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has appointed an interim chief, following the death of Director General Yukiya Amano, which was announced on Monday.

Mr Amano, who died at the age of 72, had been due to step down next March amid reports of an unspecified illness.

In a statement published on Thursday, the IAEA stated that, “to ensure the orderly and smooth functioning of the Agency”, Cornel Feruta will serve as acting Director General, until a new chief assumes office.

Mr. Feruta currently heads the IAEA’s Office of Coordination, responsible for supporting the Director General in areas such as policy, external relations with Member States, and strategy.

Growing risk of locust swarms in Yemen and Horn of Africa

Juvenile desert locust hoppers. Photo: FAO/G.Tortoli

Yemen and several countries in the Horn of Africa region, are facing an increased risk of desert locust swarms,  threatening agricultural production during the next three months, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, warned on Thursday.

The risk is being blamed on summer breeding, amplified by heavy rains, and the FAO says that it could affect food security and livelihoods in the countries concerned, which include Sudan, Eritrea and parts of Ethiopia and northern Somalia.

Intensive ground and aerial operations to control the locust population, mounted in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan this year, have had some success, but were not able to entirely prevent swarms from forming, and moving to traditional summer breeding areas in Yemen, Sudan, the Horn of Africa and along both sides of the border between India and Pakistan. 

Listen to or download our audio News in Brief for 25 July on SoundCloud: 



♦ Receive daily updates directly in your inbox - Subscribe here to a topic.
♦ Download the UN News app for your iOS or Android devices.