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At Least 25 Peacekeeping, Associated Personnel Killed in Malicious Attacks during 2021, United Nations Staff Union President Says

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Mission in Mali Continues to Suffer Greatest Number of Fatalities

At least 25 United Nations staff members and associated personnel — one civilian and 24 peacekeepers, including two women peacekeepers — were killed in deliberate attacks during 2021, according to the Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service of the United Nations Staff Union.

“Once again, United Nations staff members, especially ‘blue helmets’, serving in the world’s most dangerous places paid the highest price,” said the United Nations Staff Union President, Aitor Arauz. “No one was apprehended and sentenced for such crimes. We call on Governments to do the utmost to protect United Nations personnel and prosecute their killers.”

For the eighth year in a row, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was the world’s most dangerous, with 19 peacekeepers killed there, followed by four fatalities in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

This brings the death toll to at least 462 United Nations and associated personnel who were killed in deliberate attacks in the past 11 years from improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, artillery fire, mortar rounds, landmines, armed and successive ambushes, convoy attacks, suicide attacks and targeted assassinations.

The peacekeepers who died in 2021 were from Togo (8), Chad (4), Côte d’Ivoire (3), Egypt (3), Rwanda (1), Burundi (1), Democratic Republic of the Congo (1), Gabon (1), Malawi (1) and Morocco (1). The one civilian killed was from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Fatality Trend

The figures for preceding years are as follows: 2020 (15 killed), 2019 (28 killed); 2018 (34 killed); 2017 (71 killed); 2016 (32 killed); 2015 (51 killed); 2014 (61 killed); 2013 (58 killed); 2012 (37 killed); 2011 (35 killed); and 2010 (15 killed).

Deliberate Attacks Resulting in Death

Following is the list of deliberate attacks, compiled by the United Nations Staff Union Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service. The list is by no means exhaustive.

On 13 January 2021, Adama Bakayoko, Jean Bernard Guiégui and Bamba Moustapha, three peacekeepers from Côte d’Ivoire serving with MINUSMA, were killed when their convoy was struck by an improvised explosive device, and then the troops came under attack. Doumbia Yacouba, a MINUSMA peacekeeper also from Togo, died the next day from his injuries. Five more peacekeepers were also wounded. The attack by unidentified armed elements occurred to the north of the town of Bambara Maoudé, Timbuktu region.

On 13 January 2021, Jean d’Amour Nsabimana, a peacekeeper from Rwanda serving with MINUSCA, was killed in an attack by unidentified armed combatants on MINUSCA and Central African national defence and security forces near Bangui. Another peacekeeper was injured.

On 15 January 2021, Ahmed Mahmoud Rizk, a peacekeeper from Egypt with MINUSMA, was killed and another was seriously injured in an explosive device attack against a MINUSMA logistics convoy near Tessalit, Kidal region, Mali.

On 15 January 2021, Prosper Ndikumana, a peacekeeper from Burundi with MINUSCA, was killed near the town of Grimari, Ouaka prefecture, during an attack carried out by alleged Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement combatants. A MINUSCA patrol made up of peacekeepers from Burundi and Bangladesh was carrying out a security operation when it was targeted by two successive ambushes. Master Corporal Prosper Ndikumana was killed in the second ambush while two Bangladeshi peacekeepers were also injured.

On 18 January 2021, Franck Donald Mboundou Moussounda, of Gabon, and Lamzaata Rachid, of Morocco, two peacekeepers with MINUSCA, were killed after their convoy was ambushed by alleged Coalition des Patriotes pour le Changement combatants. The attack took place some 17 kilometres from Bangassou, Mbomou prefecture.

On 10 February 2021, Biguilinibe Wodjo, a peacekeeper from Togo serving with MINUSMA, was severely wounded and died two days later, and 27 others were wounded, in a “complex attack” by unidentified armed elements on a temporary MINUSMA operating base in Kéréna, Douentza region.

On 22 February 2021, a World Food Programme (WFP) chauffer, Mustapha Milambo, the Ambassador of Italy to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Luca Attanasio, and an Italian police officer, Vittorio Iacovacci, were killed during an attack on a two-vehicle WFP convoy in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The seven-person group, which also included the head of the European Union delegation to the country, was travelling from Goma, capital of North Kivu province, to visit a WFP-run school-feeding programme in Rutshuru, about 40 miles north of Goma.

On 2 April 2021, Hamit Barh Abdelrazakh, Adoum Idriss Djibrine, Tamour Waima Haroune and Adam Ali Mahamat, four peacekeepers from Chad serving with MINUSMA, were killed, and 19 others wounded when several heavily armed elements launched a complex attack against the MINUSMA camp in Aguelhok, Kidal region, north-east Mali.

On 10 May 2021, Chitenji Kamanga, a female peacekeeper from Malawi, was killed in an attack on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) that occurred near Beni (North Kivu). The attack was carried out by suspected members of the Allied Democratic Forces armed group.

On 2 October 2021, Shaban Ahmed Shaban Hebeshi, a peacekeeper from Egypt serving with MINUSMA, was killed and four others seriously injured when their vehicle, travelling in a convoy near Tessalit, in the Kidal region, hit an improvised explosive device.

On 6 December 2021, Abdalla Mahmoud Elmorsy Elbahnsy, a peacekeeper from Egypt with MINUSMA, succumbed to his injuries after the vehicle, as part of a logistics convoy from Tessalit to Kidal on 22 November, struck an improvised explosive device, about 11 kilometres away from the MINUSMA camp in Tessalit. Two other peacekeepers were seriously injured.

On 8 December 2021, Awéréou Mawe, a female peacekeeper from Togo, and Assima Abalo, Dosseh Amedekouva, Gnaro Toï, Essoyo-Mawe Lemou, Poyodi Padaki and Atcham Tetena, six more peacekeepers from Togo, all serving with MINUSMA, were killed and three others seriously injured when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device in the Bandiagara region of central Mali. The peacekeepers were part of a convoy travelling from Douentza to Sevare.

Other Major Incidents

On 30 July 2021, an attack against the United Nations main compound in Herat, Afghanistan, resulted in the killing of one Afghan security forces personnel and injuries to other. So-called anti-Government elements targeted entrances of the clearly marked United Nations facility with rocket-propelled grenades and gunfire just hours after Taliban fighters penetrated Herat city and clashed with Afghan security forces near the provincial headquarters of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan.

On 1 November 2021, 10 unarmed Egyptian peacekeepers with MINUSCA, who were newly deployed, were injured when their vehicle came under heavy fire from the presidential guard in Bangui, Central African Republic. The peacekeepers had arrived at M’Poko International Airport as part of the periodic rotation and deployment of troops in the country and were heading to their base.

On 8 December 2021, three staff members of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) were wounded in an attack on a convoy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, carried out by suspected Mai-Mai militia. Unidentified attackers opened fire on the convoy, which was being escorted by MONUSCO in the Mambassa area, Lubero territory, North Kivu province. The injured personnel were traveling in a clearly marked UNHCR vehicle and were returning to the city of Beni from the town of Kirumba, in south Lubero territory, after distributing aid to displaced people.

On 30 December 2021, three peacekeepers from the United Republic of Tanzania serving with MINUSCA were injured when their vehicle struck an unidentified explosive device near the village of Batouri Bole, Mambéré-Kadéï, in south-west Central African Republic.

For further information, please contact Vikram Sura at sura@un.org, United Nations Staff Union Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service.

For information media. Not an official record.