UNITED NATIONS LOST 58 PEACEKEEPERS IN 2013
New York, US - The UN lost 58 military, police and civilian peacekeepers last year, who were working to bring peace and stability to parts of the world, a report of UN staff union has said.
PANA in New York on Friday reports that the Staff Union said working for the United Nations had became more dangerous last year, with at least 58 personnel targeted by terrorists and insurgents.
It noted that the highest number of casualties occurred in attacks targeting the UN in South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan's Darfur region.
It said 33 peacekeepers and 25 civilians and associated personnel were killed in 2013 while working for the organisation, stating that the number represented an increase in the death toll from attacks on UN staff members compared with the previous year, when 37 UN personnel were killed.
The union cited the horrific assaults on the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), which resulted in the killing of 12 people during an ambush on 9 April 2013 in Jonglei State, South Sudan.
The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) in New York said about 30 peacekeepers were escorting a civilian convoy when they were ambushed by some 200 armed, unidentified men near the settlement of Gumuruk.
The firefight that followed killed five Indian peacekeepers, two national staff and five contractors.
The report also said overall, 16 peacekeepers were killed in Darfur, seven in South Sudan, four in Mali and four in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In addition, it said, five civilian staff members, four of them working for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), were killed in Syria.
The Staff Union’s overview comes just months after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to UN member states and host governments to support all measures of safety and security measures to improve the operational environment for UN personnel and humanitarian workers.
Ban stated: 'United Nations personnel serve in an increasingly dangerous environment and encounter a variety of threats not previously encountered in the history of the organisation.'
He cited a UN report released last year, which said: 'Safety and security of humanitarian personnel and protection of United Nations workers showed that significant security incidents affecting UN staff in 2012 increased to 1,793 compared with 1,759 in 2011.'
The report also stated that violent acts were cited as the primary cause of death or injuries during 2012, with 20 of the 35 deaths attributed to this, while 15 staffers were killed in safety-related incidents.