For Fifth Straight Year, Mali Mission Suffers Greatest Number of Fatalities
At least 34 United Nations and associated personnel — 26 peacekeepers and 8 civilians — were killed in malicious attacks in the line of duty in 2018, according to the Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service of the United Nations Staff Union. The 2018 casualties rate is amongst the lowest of the last five years and is less than half the number recorded by the Committee in 2017.
Since 2012, at least 344 United Nations and associated personnel have died in deliberate attacks.
For the fifth year in a row, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) suffered the greatest loss of life with 11 peacekeepers killed. This was followed by the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) where eight peacekeepers were killed and the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) with seven peacekeepers killed.
The peacekeepers killed in 2018 were from Bangladesh (6), Malawi (6), Burkina Faso (3), Burundi (2) Chad (2), Mauritania (2), United Republic of Tanzania (2), Niger (1), Pakistan (1) and Rwanda (1). The civilians killed were from Afghanistan, Nigeria and the Central African Republic.
In 2017, at least 71 United Nations and associated personnel were killed in malicious attacks in the line of duty. The figures for preceding years are as follows: 2016 (32 killed), 2015 (51 killed); 2014 (61 killed); 2013 (58 killed); and 2012 (37 killed).
The President of the United Nations Staff Union, Bibi Sherifa Khan, said: “United Nations staff work in some of the world’s most dangerous places. Any cut in the budget of peacekeeping operations increases the dangers for staff members and risk jeopardizing the goals and objectives of the Organization. When the United Nations sends its staff to work in conflict zones, it must ensure, along with Member States, that the necessary resources are provided and that those who attack our colleagues are brought to justice.”
Deliberate Attacks that Resulted in Death
Following is the list of deliberate attacks in 2018 that resulted in death, compiled by the United Nations Staff Union’s Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service. The list is by no means exhaustive:
On 22 January, one national staff member of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) was killed and another was kidnapped with her young son after they were ambushed while travelling in a car in Kabul. The body of the staff member, who worked as a driver, was recovered on 16 March. UNAMA announced the release of the kidnapped staff member and her son on 24 May.
On 27 January, Naeem Muhammad Raza of Pakistan, a peacekeeper with MONUSCO, was killed following an ambush by members of an armed group.
On 27 February, one United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) national education consultant was killed along with five other non-governmental workers south of Makounda in Ouham Prefecture in the Central African Republic.
On 28 February, four MINUSMA peacekeepers from Bangladesh, Mohammad Abul Kalam Azad, Mohammad Akhtar Hossain, Mohammad Raihan Ali and Mohammad Jamaluddin, were killed in a mine explosion while their convoy was travelling between Boni and Douentza, in Mali’s Mopti region. Four other peacekeepers from Bangladeshi were injured.
On 28 February, three nationals from Nigeria, Onyedikachi Izuogu, a doctor working as a consultant for UNICEF, and Ibrahim Lawan and Yawe Emmanuel, contractors with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), working as coordinators at a camp for 55,000 displaced people, were killed by suspected Boko Haram militants in an attack on a military barracks in Rann, Borno State, Nigeria. At least 8 other people were also killed.
On 19 March, Mohammad Rasheeduzzaman of Bangladesh, a peacekeeper with MIMUSMA, injured in the 28 February attack (see above), succumbed to his injuries.
On 3 April, Nouh Mahmoud of Mauritania, a peacekeeper with MINUSCA, was killed and 11 other peacekeepers were wounded when the Mission’s temporary base in Tagbara, a village 60 kilometres north-east of Bambari in Ouaka Prefecture, was attacked by anti-Balaka fighters. Gunfire was exchanged for several hours.
On 5 April, two peacekeepers from Chad with MINUSMA, Ibrahim Adoudou Adbelkerim and Youssouf Touka Djar-Itno, were killed when the Mission’s camp in Aguelhok, Kidal region, Mali, came under mortar attack. At least 10 other peacekeepers were injured in the attack.
On 6 April, Ibrahim Souley of Niger, a peacekeeper with MINUSMA, was killed in an attack by unidentified gunmen on a Mission vehicle in Gao, northern Mali.
On 10 April, Jean Bosco Hategekimana of Rwanda, a peacekeeper with MINUSCA, was killed and eight others were injured in the capital, Bangui, following a joint operation launched on 8 April by the Mission and the Central African forces and police to disarm and arrest heavily armed criminal groups.
On 14 April, Ibrahim Yaméogo of Burkina Faso, a peacekeeper with MINUSMA, was killed in a mortar or rocket attack on a base in the city of Timbuktu housing camps from the Mission and a French military operation known as Barkhane. Seven peacekeepers, seven soldiers from France and two civilians from Mali were also injured. The attackers were disguised as peacekeepers, according to media reports.
On 17 May, Hachem el Yemani of Mauritania, a peacekeeper with MINUSCA, was killed in an attack against a Mission convoy, escorted by troops, near the town of Alindao in south-eastern Central African Republic. Eight other peacekeepers from Mauritania were wounded in the attack, which was believed to have been carried out by anti-Balaka elements.
On 3 June, Yurbani Nzowa Nsevilwe of the United Republic of Tanzania, a peacekeeper with MINUSCA, was killed and seven others were injured in an attack by armed insurgents while they were patrolling in the country’s west.
On 10 June, Léonidas Nimubona of Burundi, a peacekeeper with MINUSCA, was killed in an attack by armed insurgents on a Mission patrol in Bambari, in the centre of the country. Another peacekeeper was wounded in the attack.
On 26 June, Ashraf Siddiqui of Bangladesh, a military liaison officer with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), was killed when unknown gunmen fired shots at a Mission convoy providing protection to humanitarians who were travelling from Yei to Lasu, South Sudan.
On 31 July, Fareha Mamnon of Afghanistan, an employee of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), was killed in a suicide attack in the city of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. According to United Nations News, Ms. Mamnon lost her husband during a bombing in Kabul three years ago, and the couple had a six-year-old daughter, who has now been orphaned. Another IOM staff member was injured in the Jalalabad attack, in which at least 13 civilians were killed.
On 23 August, Albert Ndikumana of Burundi, a peacekeeper with MINUSCA, was killed when suspected armed anti-Balaka fighters attacked Mission personnel who were securing a logistics truck near the village of Pavika, located 22 kilometres from Alindao, Basse-Kotto Prefecture, Central African Republic. Mr. Ndikumana was killed in the ensuing shootout between peacekeepers and the attackers, who fled the area.
On 27 October, two MINUSMA peacekeepers from Burkina Faso, Issa Yoni and Ouetia Delphin Limon, were killed in Konna, Mopti region, in an attack through improvised explosive devices. Several others were wounded in the attack.
On 15 November, six MONUSCO peacekeepers from Malawi, Aubrey Kachemwe, Jonathan Kapichira, Chauncy Chitete, Steven Kambalame, Simplex Taferakaso and Nsongela Benjamin, and one MONUSCO peacekeeper from the United Republic of Tanzania, Mussa Shija Machibya, were killed in Beni Territory, North Kivu, during joint operations carried out by the Mission and the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC) against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). Ten additional peacekeepers were wounded. Several FARDC soldiers and an unknown number of ADF fighters were also reportedly killed or wounded.
On 16 November, Erick Masauri John of the United Republic of Tanzania, a peacekeeper with MINUSCA, was killed during an attack against the Mission’s temporary base in Gbambia, Mambere-Kadei Province.
Following is the list of kidnappings compiled by the United Nations Staff Union’s Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service. The list is by no means exhaustive:
On 13 January, two employees of IOM, a woman and a man, were kidnapped by unknown gunmen along with their driver in southern Libya were later rescued by Libyan forces. On 16 January, a third IOM official who was kidnapped was freed by the kidnappers.
On 25 April, three United Nations staff members, one from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and two from UNICEF, as well as seven aid workers, all South Sudanese nationals, were detained by an armed opposition group while on an assessment mission near Yei, Central Equatoria, South Sudan. They were released safely on 30 April.
Also on 25 April, 10 aid workers, three from two different UN agencies, were abducted from a convoy that was travelling outside Yei town in Central Equatoria, South Sudan. They were on their way to Tore to conduct a humanitarian needs assessment. The team was reportedly held in Minyori by opposition forces. All 10 aid workers were detained for more than five days before being released.
On 26 June, according to media reports, Houthi militias stormed the World Food Programme (WFP) warehouse in Hodeidah, Yemen, and kidnapped two WFP staff members.
On 2 August, according to aidworkersecurity.org, seven United Nations local implementing partners were abducted in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congolese nationals were kidnapped, but the two drivers and their vehicles were released. On 3 August, two of the seven staff members were released after being seriously assaulted.
On 8 September, IOM announced that one of its staff members had been kidnapped by unknown persons in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a.
For further information, please contact Christian Clark, at email: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Vikram Sura, at email: email@example.com, United Nations Staff Union Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service.