from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA – AT least 71 United Nations (UN) peacekeepers and associated personnel were killed in line of duty during the past year.
According to the Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service of the UN Staff Union, the casualties in 2017 are the highest number ever recorded by the committee.
Some 53 peacekeepers and 18 civilians, including two police personnel and 15 contractors were killed.
In the past five years, at least 310 UN personnel have died in deliberate attacks.
In the worst attack, 15 peacekeepers from Tanzania were killed and 43 injured in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) last month.
At least five members of the military were also killed. The death toll was the highest for UN peacekeepers since 1993, when 23 personnel were slain in Mogadishu, Somalia.
In other incidents in the DRC in 2017, six civilians working for the UN were also killed. Elsewhere, 14 peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR) and five civilians with the UN in Cameroon were killed.
In 2017, at least 45 peacekeepers succumbed to illness while at least 15 died in accidents.
Three civilian personnel remain missing.
Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, condemned the killing of a Pakistan peacekeeper deployed in DRC following an ambush by members of an armed group on Sunday.
At least one other peacekeeper was wounded in the attack.
“I wish a speedy recovery to the injured and calls on those responsible for this attack to be brought to justice,” Guterres said.
– APA / CAJ News