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World News in Brief: UNRWA investigation updates, new recruits for Haiti-support force, gun battles in Chadian capital

The UN Secretary-General received an update on Wednesday from the Office of Internal Oversight (OIOS), which launched an investigation last month following allegations that a handful of UNRWA employees were complicit in Hamas’s October attacks that left almost 1,200 dead in Israel and 240 taken hostage.

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So far, investigators have reviewed initial information from a variety of sources, including that released through the media and other public outlets, and reached out to Member States concerned, for additional input, according to the update.

In the Jordanian capital, Amman, investigators visited UNRWA headquarters and reviewed initial information received by the agency from Israeli authorities. The investigators also reviewed information and communications technology data, including email records and information on agency vehicles.

Cooperation has been adequate

Cooperation with the investigation by Member States has thus far been adequate, the UN Spokesperson added.

“OIOS will [continue to] seek and to corroborate additional information and to compare the information obtained with materials held by Israeli authorities, which OIOS expects to receive shortly,” he said.

The UN’s primary internal investigative office, OIOS began its work on 29 January, the day the Secretary-General tasked the unit with this effort, Mr. Dujarric said.

Since Israel made these allegations, UNRWA has fired the accused staff and launched its own independent review, which is expected to be published in late April.

Pending the investigations, many major donors have suspended funding for UNRWA, which operates on voluntary donations, and agency chief Philippe Lazzarini said a lack of funds has already impacted lifesaving relief efforts, particularly for the two million Palestinians trapped in war-torn Gaza, which is on the verge of famine.

Benin joins Haiti’s multinational support force

Turning to the situation in gang-ravaged Haiti, the UN Spokesperson said Benin is the latest nation to officially confirm its intention to contribute personnel to the new Security Council-mandated multinational support mission in the crisis-stricken Caribbean country.

To date, $10.8 million in contributions have been deposited into the Multinational Security Support Trust Fund to operate the mission, he said.

“We are also encouraged by the pledges of some $78 million in recent days that will go directly to the fund, and we encourage Member States to continue contributing to ensure the successful deployment of the mission,” he said.

The mission will provide security assistance to the Government of Haiti in its efforts to protect civilians and address the multiple crises which have left armed gangs holding sway in large parts of the country.

In addition to Benin’s contribution of personnel, Mr. Dujarric said the UN has received, as of Wednesday, notifications to provide officers from the following governments: the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados and Chad.

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Gun battles rage in Chadian capital

And turning to Chad, concerns are growing amid reports of violence and gun battles in N’Djamena, the capital.

Abdou Abarry, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Central Africa, said in a statement that he is following with great concern the events taking place.

He called on all actors to show calm and restraint, particularly at a time when Chad is entering the final stages of its political transition.

With presidential elections planned for 6 May, Mr. Abarry reiterated that he and the entire UN system continues to be available to continue to support the efforts of the government and the people of Chad to ensure a peaceful, inclusive and credible electoral process.

Opposition leader reported dead

Media reports on Thursday suggested that opposition leader Yaya Dillo had been killed in a shootout in N’Djamena.

He is cousin of Chad’s military ruler Mahamat Idriss Déby Into, whose father, Idriss Déby, he replaced in 2021 after spending three decades ruling the landlocked nation which borders North and Central Africa. 

According to news reports, Mr. Dillo was blamed for a deadly attack on Chad’s main security agency, although he denied any involvement. 

It was widely believed that he would be the main political opponent of the president in the upcoming vote, according to reports.

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