6 January 2006

Attacks against UN Personnel Continued Unabated throughout 2005, UN Staff Union Says

NEW YORK, 5 January (UN Staff Union) -- Attacks against United Nations personnel continued unabated throughout 2005, claiming the lives of both peacekeepers and civilians, the United Nations Staff Union said today.  "This demonstrates the need to end the current situation of impunity, with too few perpetrators brought before the law", said Staff Union President Rosemarie Waters.  "Prosecuting the perpetrators falls upon Member States, and once again the Staff Union calls on them to carry out this duty."

The year also saw a further erosion of the independence of international civil servants, Ms. Waters said.  "We had Eritrea asking for the departure of all Western peacekeepers -- a fact that established a dangerous precedent", she said.

Below is a list of incidents in 2005, gathered by the Staff Council Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service (CSIICS).

4 January -- Eric Mmbulika, a staff member of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), dies of gunshot wounds in Nairobi.

9 January -- Major Jean Louis Valet, a French military observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), is killed and his Swedish colleague injured while on patrol along the Blue Line in south Lebanon.  The observers are hit by a barrage of Israel Defense Force (IDF) tank and machine gun fire after Hezbollah guerrillas ambush an Israeli patrol on the Israeli side of the line.

10 January -- Lisa Véron, 30, of Switzerland, a staff member of the African Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO), dies as a result of a knife attack in her car in Harare -- the first murder of a United Nations staff member in Zimbabwe.

13 January -- Umar Ali Karya, a police officer from Nigeria, is killed in a bomb explosion in Prizren, Kosovo, as he drives to work.  He was serving with the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) at the Pritzen Regional Police Headquarters.

25 February -- Unidentified militia members ambush and murder nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo -- the worst-ever attack against the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).  The victims are captain Shahid Ashraf Khan, warrant officer Sohrab Hossain Talukder, sergeant Sherajul Haque, corporal Atowar Rahman Sarker, leading seaman Mohammad Nurul Islam and privates Abdus Salam, Abdus Salam, Zahirul Islam and Belal Hossain.  They were part of a company that had been trying to protect a camp for internally displaced persons from harassment by local militias, which had been terrorizing civilians, looting their belongings and forcing them to pay illegal taxes.

20 March -- At dawn, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) launches a joint operation with the Haitian National Police in Petit Goâve, an ex-soldier stronghold about 45 miles south-west of Port-au-Prince, to dislodge armed elements who had illegally occupied the local police station since August 2004.  The former soldiers refuse to surrender peacefully and open fire on the peacekeepers, setting off a fierce gun battle.  One Sri Lankan peacekeeper, lance corporal Herath M. Wijesingha, is killed and three others are wounded.  Later on the same day, while manning a checkpoint on the road between Mirebalais and Terre Rouge, in the centre of Haiti, Nepalese soldiers are fired on indiscriminately by armed groups using women and children as shields.  One Nepalese peacekeeper, corporal Amaldar Mohan Singh Garja Magar, is killed.

28 March -- Fazlulhaq, a staff member of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Afghanistan, dies of stab wounds in Kabul.

14 April -- Staff sergeant Antonio Batomalaque, 39, a Philippine peacekeeper with MINUSTAH, is murdered in the impoverished Cité Soleil neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince, one of Haiti's most dangerous areas.  He is supervising the setting up of a checkpoint on a route used by local outlaws when his group of peacekeepers is attacked.

7 May -- Tint Swe, an engineer from Myanmar working as an international contractor for UNOPS, is killed in an explosion at an Internet café in Kabul.  The attack also takes the lives of three Afghan citizens.

12 May -- Noor Mohammad, a Bangladeshi peacekeeper with MONUC, dies in an attack near Bunia, the main town in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  He is killed and three other peacekeepers are wounded as militiamen open fire on four United Nations vehicles.

2 June -- Major Kabindra Jung Thapa, of Nepal, is shot and killed when a team of 36 Nepalese peacekeepers is escorting a human rights verification team to Lugo, Ituri district, Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The team is out to investigate reports of mass rapes carried out by militias.  When the team is being pulled out by two helicopters, the MONUC peacekeepers are suddenly surrounded by about 350 armed militias, and start firing.  Major Thapa, who is the last to board the second helicopter, is shot and slumps inside the helicopter.  Two other peacekeepers are shot and injured.  "I owe my life to Major Thapa", says Carmine Camerim of MONUC, a member of the human rights team.

13 June -- Sergeant Shinde Vishnu Bhagwan, of India, is killed in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo, by a stray bullet while on patrol on a United Nations vehicle.  His vehicle is caught in crossfire between the Congolese army and rebel militia near the border with Rwanda; two other MONUC soldiers from India are wounded.

15 July -- Dickson Munyua Mberia, of Kenya, a staff member of UNOPS, is killed by gunshot wounds in Nairobi.

31 August -- Corporal Aziz Radi, 35, of Morocco, with the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), dies of blows and stabs sustained in an attack by unidentified assailants in the rebel stronghold of Bouaké.

1 October -- Yousef Mohammed Hleigawi, of Palestine, a staff member of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), is killed by gunshot wounds in Fawwar Camp, West Bank.

3 October -- United Nations security officer Mohamuud Musse Gurage, 42, is shot and killed by two gunmen outside his home in the port city of Kismayo, 500 kilometres south of Mogadishu, just after being dropped off by his driver.  He was one of a team of United Nations field security staff serving in Somalia to protect United Nations humanitarian and developmental staff.

3 October -- Angel Kossia G. Sama Guehi, of Côte d'Ivoire, a staff member of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, is killed in Arusha, United Republic of Tanzania.

24 October -- Corporal Abd Almharat Muhammad, a Jordanian peacekeeper serving with MINUSTAH, dies of a gunshot wound sustained on 22 October during an operation to free a woman kidnapped by bandits.  He had been shot in the head when armed bandits targeted his patrol in Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince.  He dies at a hospital in the Dominican Republic, where he had been evacuated for treatment.

16 November -- WHO staff member Hussein Fud Mohamed, of Somalia, is killed by an explosion in Burao, Somaliland.

13 December -- Emmanuelle Andrianjafy, of Madagascar, a staff member of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is killed by stab wounds in Antananarivo.

20 December --Two United Nations policemen from Canada are driving along Route Nationale 1 near Cité Soleil when unidentified gunmen fire on their vehicle.  The driver, Mark Bourque, 57, is seriously wounded in the leg, and receives first aid from his colleague and an armoured MINUSTAH vehicle.  He is immediately taken to the MINUSTAH Argentine Military Hospital in Port-au-Prince, but dies at 11:07 a.m.

23 December -- Captain Yousef Al-Ghader, 31, of Jordan, is shot in the head when his armoured vehicle comes under attack in Cité Soleil.  The MINUSTAH peacekeeper is immediately transferred to a military hospital but does not survive his injuries.

25 December -- Private Subedar Ram Kripal Singh, a MONUC peacekeeper from India, is killed in Mukungwe, North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, as Congolese troops take back nine localities in the troubled eastern region of the country.  The peacekeeper dies as some 4,000 armed forces troops, supported by about 1,000 MONUC forces, are conducting operations against armed rebel groups.  Four other Indian peacekeepers are wounded.

In addition, 15 other peacekeepers were injured in Haiti during 2005, and five civilian staff were kidnapped and then released in the Gaza Strip in two separate incidents on 29 July and 8 August.

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