15 January 2007

The year 2006 was another deadly year for United Nations civilian staff as well as peacekeepers, according to the United Nations Staff Union and its Committee on Security and Independence of the International Civil Service, with at least 22 United Nations personnel killed in Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Afghanistan and Southern Lebanon. There were also numerous violations of the independence of the international civil service around the world, and staff members were detained or expelled in Eritrea.

"Apprehending and punishing the perpetrators would go a long way to address this situation," said Stephen Kisambira, President of the United Nations Staff Union. "Very seldom those who attack and kill United Nations personnel pay for their crimes."

Here is a list of major incidents during 2006 put together by the Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service:

On 17 January, Tareq Al Jaafreh and Rabi Merei, two Jordanian peacekeepers with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), are shot and killed while manning a checkpoint in the dangerous Cite Soleil neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince.

On 23 January, eight Guatemalan peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) are killed and five others are wounded as they carry out reconnaissance operations against suspected elements of the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army, reported to be present in the Garamba National Park in eastern part of the country, about 70 kilometres from the border with Sudan. The victims are Calixto Gomez Perez, Abelino Pop, Ramon Xi Che, Orlando Hernandez Alonzo, Edgar Morales Guzman, Mario Enrique Tec Caal, Teodoro Tilom Paau and Valeriano Rax Hul.

On 15 March, two gunmen attack at night a compound of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Yei, southern Sudan, killing UNHCR guard David Batali and critically wounding Nabil Bahjat Abdulla, 48, of Iraq. Mr. Abdulla dies on 28 March after having been airlifted to Nairobi.

On 12 May Sarajudin Noorzai, an Afghani driver serving with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), is killed by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan while his UNICEF vehicle is travelling between Badghis and Heart.

On 28 May, Gian Bahadoor Adikhari, a Nepalese peacekeeper serving with MONUC, is killed by the Front des Nationalistes et des Integrationistes militia during a firefight in the area of Tsupu, Ituri district, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Three other Nepalese peacekeepers are wounded and seven are captured. Two of the abducted soldiers are released on 27 June and the others on 10 July.

The way in southern Lebanon took a heavy toll on the United nations. On 17 July, Augustine Bielonwu, 52, of Nigeria, a civilian staff member serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), is killed during the fighting between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerrillas when an Israeli rocket hits the building where he lived in Tyre.

On 23 July, Roberto Punzo, an Italian observer with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), is wounded by Hezbollah fire in clashes between Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerillas in the Lebanese border village of Maroun al-Ras.

On 24 July, an Israeli tank shell hits a position run by UNIFIL peacekeepers in south Lebanon, wounding four Ghanaian soldiers.

On 25 July, an Israeli air strike hits the building and shelter of a UNTSO observer post in the town of Khiyam, southern Lebanon, killing four observers: Du Zhaoyu, 34, of China; Han Peter Lang, 44, of Austria; Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, 43, of Canada; and Jarno Makinen, 29, of Finland.

On July 29, two UNIFIL Indian soldiers are wounded and their observation post damaged by an Israeli air strike in southern Lebanon.

On 6 August, three Chinese UNIFIL peacekeepers are injured when a Hezbollah rocket hits the Chinese contingent headquarters in the village of Henniyeh, southern Lebanon.

On 12 August, a UNIFIL Ghanaian peacekeeper is wounded by Israeli artillery fire near the southern village of Haris.

On 14 August, UNRWA staff member Abdel Saghir, 48, is killed in a residential area by a missile fired by Israeli forces against an alleged Palestinian faction in the Ein el-Hilweh refugee camp in Saida.

On 10 November, unidentified gunmen open fire on a MINUSTAH patrol near the Port-au-Prince airport. Jordanian peacekeepers Ahmad Mohammed Hassan Ba'irat and Rami Wasif Taha Al Mohammed die from their injuries -- on of the two dies on the way to the hospital, the other upon arrival.

Many other attacks and incidents took place during the year. In addition, in March a UNICEF staff member was abducted by armed men and then released in Somalia. During the year, Eritrean authorities detained locally recruited staff of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), often without explanation, and a United Nations Volunteer.