ATTACKS AGAINST UNITED NATIONS PERSONNEL IN 2006 GO UNPUNISHED, STAFF UNION SAYS

2 January 2007
ORG/1477

ATTACKS AGAINST UNITED NATIONS PERSONNEL IN 2006 GO UNPUNISHED, STAFF UNION SAYS

2 January 2007
Press Release
ORG/1477
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

ATTACKS AGAINST UNITED NATIONS PERSONNEL IN 2006 GO UNPUNISHED, STAFF UNION SAYS

NEW YORK, 2 January (UN Staff Union) -- Last year was another deadly year for United Nations civilian staff as well as peacekeepers, according to the United Nations Staff Union and its Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service, with at least 22 United Nations personnel killed in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan, Afghanistan and southern Lebanon.  There were also numerous violations of the independence of the international civil service around the world and staff members were detained or expelled in Eritrea.

“Apprehending and punishing the perpetrators would go a long way to address this situation,” said Stephen Kisambira, President of the United Nations Staff Union.  “Very seldom those who attack and kill United Nations personnel pay for their crimes”.

Following is a list of major incidents during 2006 put together by the Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service:

On 17 January, Tareq Al Jaafreh and Rabi Merei, two Jordanian peacekeepers with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), were shot and killed while manning a checkpoint in the dangerous Cité Soleil neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince.

On 23 January, eight Guatemalan peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) were killed and five others were wounded as they carried out reconnaissance operations against suspected elements of the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, reported to be present in the Garamba National Park in the eastern part of the country, about 70 kilometres from the border with the Sudan.  The victims were Calixto Gómez Pérez, Abelino Pop, Ramón Xi Ché, Orlando Hernández Alonzo, Edgar Morales Guzmán, Mario Enrique Tec Caal, Teodoro Tilóm Paau and Valeriano Rax Hul.

On 15 March, two gunmen attacked at night a compound of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Yei, Southern Sudan, killing UNHCR guard David Batali and critically wounding Nabil Bahjat Abdulla, 48, of Iraq.  Mr. Abdulla died on 28 March after having been airlifted to Nairobi.

On 12 May, Sarajudin Noorzai, an Afghani driver serving with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan while his UNICEF vehicle was travelling between Badghis and Heart.

On 28 May, Gian Bahadoor Adikhari, a Nepalese peacekeeper serving with MONUC, was killed by the Front des Nationalistes et des Intégrationistes militia during a firefight in the area of Tsupu, Ituri district, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Three other Nepalese peacekeepers were wounded and seven were captured.  Two of the abducted soldiers were released on 27 June and the others on 10 July.

The war in southern Lebanon took a heavy toll on the United Nations.  On 17 July, Augustine Bielonwu, 52, of Nigeria, a civilian staff member serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), was killed during the fighting between Israeli forces and Hizbollah guerrillas when an Israeli rocket hit the building where he lived in Tyre.

On 23 July, Roberto Punzo, an Italian observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), was wounded by Hizbollah fire in clashes between Israeli forces and Hizbollah guerillas in the Lebanese border village of Maroun al-Ras.

On 24 July, an Israeli tank shell hit a position run by UNIFIL peacekeepers in south Lebanon, wounding four Ghanaian soldiers.

On 25 July, an Israeli air strike hit the building and shelter of a United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) observer post in the town of Khiyam, southern Lebanon, killing four observers:  Du Zhaoyu, 34, of China; Hans Peter Lang, 44, of Austria; Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, 43, of Canada; and Jarno Mäkinen, 29, of Finland.

On 29 July, two UNIFIL Indian soldiers were wounded and their observation post damaged by an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon.

On 6 August, three Chinese UNIFIL peacekeepers were injured when a Hizbollah rocket hit the Chinese contingent headquarters in the village of Henniyeh, southern Lebanon.

On 12 August, a UNIFIL Ghanaian peacekeeper was wounded by Israeli artillery fire near the southern village of Haris.

On 14 August, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) staff member Abdel Saghir, 48, was killed in a residential area by a missile fired by Israeli forces against an alleged Palestinian faction in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in Saida.

On 10 November, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) patrol near the Port-au-Prince airport.  Jordanian peacekeepers Ahmad Mohammed Hassan Ba'irat and Rami Wasif Taha Al Mohammed died from their injuries -- one of the two died on the way to the hospital, the other upon arrival.

Many other attacks and incidents have taken place during the year.  In addition, in March a UNICEF staff member was abducted by armed men and then released in Somalia.  During the year, Eritrean authorities detained locally recruited staff of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), often without explanation, and a United Nations Volunteer.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.