1 FEBRUARY 2014
|INCREASED DEADLY ATTACKS AGAINST UNITED NATIONS STAFF. AT LEAST 58 KILLED IN 2013.
Working for the United Nations became more hazardous last year, with at least 58 persons losing their life in deliberate attacks. According to
the Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service of the United Nations Staff Union, 33 peacekeepers and 25
civilians and associated personnel were killed in 2013. The civilian fatalities included 9 staff members, 4 security officers and 12 contractors
working on behalf of the Organization.
In 2012, 37 United Nations personnel -- 20 civilians and 17 peacekeepers, two of them police officers -- were killed in the line of duty. In 2011,
36 personnel -- 26 civilians, 9 peacekeepers and a military adviser -- were killed.
The highest number of fatalities in 2013 occurred in the ambush on 9 April in which five peacekeepers, two national staff and five contractors
were killed; in the attack in Mogadishu on 19 June, in which one United Nations staff member, three contractors and four security officers were
killed; and in the attack in Darfur, Sudan, on 13 July, in which eight peacekeepers were killed.
Sixteen peacekeepers were killed in Darfur, seven in South Sudan, four in Mali and four in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Five civilian
staff members, four of them working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), were killed in
Following is an overview of deadly incidents in 2013, according to the Staff Union Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the
International Civil Service (the list may not be exhaustive):
-- Nasri Khalil Hasan, a mathematics teacher with UNRWA, was hit on 13 March by shrapnel from a nearby explosion in Khan Eshieh camp, 27
kilometres from Damascus, Syria, during an intense armed engagement. He was rushed to a hospital and died of his wounds on 14 March.
-- Thirty-two peacekeepers with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), who were escorting a United Nations convoy, were ambushed on 9
April by some 200 attackers -- some armed with rocket-propelled grenades -- near the settlement of Gumuruk, Jonglei State, South Sudan. Five
peacekeepers, two UNMISS national staff and five civilian contract employees -- four Kenyans and one South Sudanese -- were killed in the
ambush. The peacekeepers were Mahipal Singh, Shiv Kumar Pal, Heera Lal, Bharat Sasmal and Nand Joshi. The national staff members were driver
Yumana Deng and vehicle mechanic Peter Makwe Kiko.
-- In the early morning hours of 19 April, a Nigerian peacekeeper of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Aminu
Ibrahim, was shot dead and two others were injured in an attack by unidentified assailants on the Missionís team site near Muhajeria, East Darfur
-- An Ethiopian peacekeeper of the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), Genetu Woldegebriel, was killed and two were
seriously wounded on 4 May in an attack by an assailant on a UNISFA convoy in the Abyei Area, which is contested by Sudan and South Sudan.
-- A military convoy of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) was ambushed by
unidentified assailants on 7 May while travelling from Walungu to Bukavu, South Kivu Province, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. A Pakistani
peacekeeper, Tanveer Hussain, was killed.
-- Shelling on 14 June on the Joint Border Verification and Monitoring Mechanism interim headquarters in Kadugli, South Kordofan State, Sudan,
which served as a logistics base for UNISFA, killed a UNISFA peacekeeper from Ethiopia, Mesert Nrea, and wounded two others. The shelling was
reportedly carried out by elements of the Sudan Peopleís Liberation Movement-North.
-- A vehicle rigged with explosives was detonated outside the gate of the United Nations Common Compound in Mogadishu on 19 June, and attackers
then entered on foot. Gunfire and further explosions followed, as staff took refuge in secure areas. Among the victims were Rita Wairimu Muchucha,
of Kenya, a Somalia operations manager of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); three United Nations demining contractors -- two South
Africans, Morne Lotter, 42, and Alan Simpson, 35, and a Somali, Isak Mohammed Osmani; and four Somali security officers who defended the
compound -- Ibarhim Addow Alasow, Siciid Mohamed Hussein, Abdulkadir Abshir Mohamed and Dahir Abdulle Moallim. Thirteen other people were also
killed, including six civilians and seven Al-Shabab attackers.
-- A joint UNAMID patrol was ambushed on 13 July in South Darfur, approximately 25 kilometres west of the Missionís Khor Abeche team site, and
came under heavy fire from a large unidentified group. The peacekeepers were outnumbered four to one by their attackers who numbered between 100
and 150, and had trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns. Following an extended firefight, the patrol was extracted by UNAMID reinforcements. Seven
Tanzanian military peacekeepers were killed: Shaibu Shehe Othuman, Oswald Chaula, Mohamed Ally, Mohamed Chukilizo Mpandana, Rodney Ndunguru,
Photunatus Msofe and Peter Werema. Seventeen others were wounded. Another peacekeeper, John Sesay, a police adviser from Sierra Leone, who was
seriously injured by bullet wounds, died on 30 September.
-- Muhannad Husein Ishmawi, 39, a school attendant with UNRWA, sustained serious head injuries on 14 July when a shell exploded in a Palestine
Street in Yarmouk, Syria. He was rushed to a hospital in Damascus where he died of his injuries.
-- Khatibu Shaaban Mshindo, a Tanzanian peacekeeper with MONUSCO, was killed and 10 others were wounded on 28 August in eastern Democratic
Republic of the Congo during an attack against the 23 March Movement (M23) rebel group, as M23 directed artillery fire on a United Nations position
north of Goma. The attack occurred as MONUSCO supported action by the Congolese armed forces to push M23 off the heights from where they had been
shelling Goma. One of the wounded Tanzanian peacekeepers, Hugo Munga, died on 18 September.
-- A UNAMID military observer from Zambia, Alfred Banda, died on 11 October in El Fasher, North Darfur, following an attack by armed men who
stabbed him and hijacked his vehicle.
-- Three UNAMID peacekeepers from Senegal -- Thierno Mbaye, Issa Faye and Mamadou Ndiaye -- who were escorting a water convoy from El Geneina
town to the Mission's regional headquarters in West Darfur, were killed and one injured on 13 October, when the convoy was ambushed by an unidentified
-- A suicide bomber on 23 October drove an explosive-laden vehicle to a checkpoint of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated
Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) at the entry to the northern town of Tessalit, killing two Chadian peacekeepers, Mbatssou Zigalaouna
Hournou and Zakaria Bechir Ahmat, and injuring six others. Two other people were killed, including a child.
-- A MONUSCO peacekeeper, Rajabu Ahmed Mlima, of Tanzania, was killed and another injured on 27 October after coming under fire from M23 in
Kiwanja, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The attacks occurred as MONUSCO supported action carried out by Congolese armed forces to
protect civilians on the Kiwanja-Rutshuru axis, 25 kilometres north of Goma.
-- A United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) national staff member, Sami Khaled Issa, was killed on 4 November by mortar shrapnel
on the outskirts of Damascus.
-- A UNAMID convoy came under attack by unknown armed people on 24 November on the road from Kabkabiya to Saraf Umra, North Darfur. A Rwandan
peacekeeper, Christian Ruhara, was shot during the assault and succumbed to his injuries in the Missionís hospital in Kabkabiya.
-- Mohammad Suheil Yousef Awwad, 40, an UNRWA maintenance technician, was killed on 24 November in Damascus when a mortar shell struck his
vehicle, also killing three other passengers.
-- On 2 December, Suzan Ghazazweh, 57, an UNRWA teacher, died when a shell struck her home in Dera'a, southwestern Syria.
-- A car bomb attack on 14 December in the north-eastern Malian town of Kidal killed two MINUSMA blue helmets from Senegal, Ousmane Fall and
Cheikh Tidiane Sarr, leaving several others injured. The car bomb attack occurred early in the day as MINUSMA and Malian troops were jointly
securing a bank in downtown Kidal. The power of the explosion caused the collapse of the building and damaged the facades of surrounding buildings.
-- Two UNMISS Indian Battalion troops, Subedar K. P. Singh and Subedar Dharmesh Sangwan, were killed in action and one was injured on 19 December
in Akobo, South Sudan, following an assault on a UNMISS base.
-- A national staff member of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Abdon Doewiss Ningha, was killed on 24
December in the Central African Republic.
-- Two UNAMID peacekeepers (police), Talal al Rjoub, of Jordan, and Allou Ka, of Senegal, were killed on 29 December in an armed attack by
unidentified assailants on a UNAMID convoy near Greida, South Darfur.
Abductions and Illegal Detentions
Abductions of United Nations personnel continued throughout the year, mostly in relation to the conflict in Syria:
-- An international staff member of UNDOF was abducted on 17 February in the demilitarized zone separating Israel and Syria. He was released
on 17 October -- eight months after his capture.
-- On 6 March, approximately 30 armed fighters of the Syrian opposition stopped and detained 21 UNDOF observers from the Philippines on a
supply mission within the Area of Limitation, east of the B-Line. The observers were released on 9 March.
-- Four UNDOF peacekeepers from the Philippines monitoring the ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights were held
on 7 May by armed elements of the Syrian opposition in the vicinity of Al Jamla; they were released on 12 May.
-- A group of armed elements of the Syrian opposition on 15 May broke into a United Nations observation post in the Golan Heights and detained
for several hours three military observers from the United Nations Truce Supervision Organizationís Observer Group Golan.
-- A Russian-made Mi-8 helicopter of a UNAMID contractor, tasked with delivering supplies to various UNAMID locations in South Darfur, made an
emergency landing on 3 August due to severe weather conditions. The helicopter landed at about 50 kilometres south-east of Nyala, South Darfur
State. Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minawi detained the crew, which included one Sudanese and two Ukrainians, releasing them
on 27 August.
-- At least 16 United Nations and associated personnel were detained in Syria, and three remained missing at the end of the year.
Helicopter crashes continued in 2013. On 9 March, a Mi-8AMT helicopter contracted by MONUSCO crashed around 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the
regional capital, Bukavu, killing the four Russian crewmembers -- Vladimir Safonov, Alexander Sarafanov, Alexander Bessmertny and Yevgeny Nikitin.
Helicopter crashes in Ethiopia and Darfur caused injuries.