24 January 2006

Secretary-General Condemns Killing of Eight Guatemalan Peacekeepers in Democratic Republic of Congo

NEW YORK, 23 January (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

The Secretary-General is deeply saddened at and condemns the killing earlier today of eight Guatemalan peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) and the wounding of five others, which occurred in the Garamba National Park, about 70 kilometres from the border with Sudan in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The peacekeepers were involved in an operation against suspected elements of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), reported to be present in the park, that have contributed to displace thousands of innocent civilians.

Following the incident, MONUC immediately launched a search and rescue operation, which has been successfully completed. The Secretary-General expresses deep condolences to the Government of Guatemala, to the families of the deceased soldiers, and to all victims of these tragic developments.

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