UN and Africa: focus on Timbuktu, food assistance and children in South Sudan

Islamist militant from Mali pleads guilty to Timbuktu war crimes

An Islamist militant has plead guilty to war crimes for ordering the destruction of Timbuktu’s religious and cultural monuments, a spokesperson for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has confirmed. Mali’s intellectual and spiritual capital is inscribed on the UN World Heritage Site. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi, a member of the Ansare Dine rebel group, could be jailed for 30 years for the crime. On the line from The Hague, the ICC spokesperson Fadi El Abdallah began by explaining to Jocelyne Sambira why this trial is so important.

People in need of food in north-east Nigeria doubles to 4.5m

The number of people in need of urgent food assistance in north-eastern Nigeria has doubled to 4.5 million according to the UN World Food Programme or WFP. The region has been badly affected by the ongoing insurgency by militants belonging to the Boko Haram group. And there are fears that a million more people will join the ranks of the hungry in the West African country. Daniel Dickinson reports.

South Sudan’s children need to be students, not soldiers

The world’s youngest nation, South Sudan, needs teachers, doctors, lawyers and engineers, not soldiers. That’s according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which is working to remove children from the ranks of armed groups in the country. South Sudan gained independence five years ago but roughly half that period has been marred by conflict. UNICEF estimates at least 16,000 children have participated in the fighting. More than 1,700 child soldiers were demobilized last year which UNICEF regional communications officer James Elder called a “positive sign.” However, he told Sani Martin that recent fighting indicates that children there are still at risk.

Presenter: Jocelyne Sambira

Production Assistant: Sandra Guy

Duration: 10’00?

Source: United Nations Radio.