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At Least 32 United Nations Personnel Killed as Assailants Deliberately Attack Peacekeeping Operations in 2016

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Almost 240 Have Died in Last 5 Years, with ‘Soft’ Targets Increasingly at Risk, Says Staff Union Standing Committee

At least 32 United Nations and associated personnel were killed in the line of duty over the course of 2016, according to the Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service of the United Nations Staff Union.

Among those killed were 26 peacekeepers, 2 security guards, 1 civilian staff member and 1 contractor. In deliberate attacks, the assailants used improvised explosive devices, rocket and artillery fire, mortar rounds, landmines and grenades, also staging suicide attacks, targeted assassinations and armed ambushes.

Almost 240 United Nations personnel have died in deliberate attacks over the past five years. With the Organization’s personnel called to do more with less, and increasingly working in high-risk environments and facing a growing number of deliberate attacks, the Standing Committee calls upon the Secretary-General to ensure that the necessary resources for safety and security are mobilized when and where needed, particularly in the most at-risk duty stations. The Standing Committee notes that the toll from deadly attacks could have been greater were it not for the dedicated professionalism and devotion, above and beyond the call of duty, of United Nations security and peacekeeping personnel in many high-risk areas.

Fatality Trend

In 2016, the third year in a row, the greatest loss of life was recorded in Mali, where at least 23 personnel were killed in ambushes, by improvised explosive devices or when their vehicles hit landmines. In 2015, at least 25 personnel, including 11 peacekeepers and 14 civilians and associated personnel, were killed in Mali.

In 2015, at least 51 United Nations and associated personnel were killed in the line of duty, the highest number ever recorded by the Standing Committee. Among those killed were 27 peacekeepers, including 2 police officers, and 24 civilians. In 2014, at least 61 United Nations personnel were killed: 33 peacekeepers, 16 civilians, 9 contractors and 3 consultants.

In 2013, at least 58 were killed in deliberate attacks: 33 peacekeepers and 25 civilians and associated personnel. In 2012, at least 37 United Nations personnel — 20 civilians and 17 peacekeepers, 2 of them police officers — were killed.

Other United Nations personnel paid with their lives while serving the Organization in 2016 due to accidents, critical security incidents and other causes.

Deliberate Attacks that Resulted in Death

Following is the list of deliberate attacks resulting in the deaths of United Nations personnel in 2016, according to the Staff Union’s Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service:

12 February — Six Guinean peacekeepers with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) — Henry Haba, Mohamed Nylon Camara, Micheline Lamah, Moussa Dabo, Faraban Djoumessy and Saa Victor Kantambadou — are killed in an attack against a United Nations camp in Kidal, north-eastern Mali, involving rocket attacks and a suicide bomber in a vehicle. Some 30 other peacekeepers are wounded.

15 February — A Guinean peacekeeper with MINUSMA, Mamadou Adama Barry, dies on 15 February from wounds sustained in the 12 February attack (see above).

15 February — Amer al-Kaissy, an Iraqi national who served as liaison officer for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) in Diyala, is verified murdered. Abducted in April 2015 in Diyala Governorate by unidentified persons, his body bore signs of execution by a single gunshot.

9 March — Edward Mxolisi Mnyipika, a South African peacekeeper with the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID), is killed and another injured in an attack by an unknown armed group 40 kilometres south-west of Kutum, North Darfur, as the peacekeepers are travelling from Kutum to Djarido.

17 April — Khalid el Hasnaoui, a Moroccan peacekeeper with the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), is killed by unknown assailants in the town of Rafai, Mbomou Prefecture, Central African Republic. The incident occurs when a MINUSCA patrol is dispatched to Rafai in response to an attack on the nearby village of Agoumar by alleged elements of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

18 May — Six Chadian peacekeepers with MINUSMA — Abderahim Abdallah Abdramane, Ramat Abdelkerim Abdelkerim, Abdoulaye Yacoub Abdelhadi, Allaye Babouri Ibrahim, Eric Alladoum Taoudoum and Hassane Mahamat Mahamat — are killed and three others injured when a MINUSMA convoy hits an improvised explosive device and then comes under fire from an unknown group of armed assailants approximately 15 kilometres north of Aguelhok in Mali’s Kidal region.

29 May — Five Togolese peacekeepers with MINUSMA — Pammasi Tchadabalo, Mozoboyo Landja, Alafiah Iveideou Bamazi, Kpanté Tchédré and Komlan Segnon Akoto — are killed when their convoy is ambushed 30 kilometres west of Sevaré, on the Tenenkou-Sevaré road. Another peacekeeper is seriously injured.

31 May — Shen Liangliang, a Chinese peacekeeper with MINUSMA, is killed and a dozen United Nations personnel injured when a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device detonates at the MINUSMA camp near Gao, Mali, during an attack.

31 May — Eric Flory, a civilian contractor from France, and two security guards from Mali working for MINUSMA, are killed when a camp in another area of the city is attacked by unknown assailants.

27 June — Sisay Engida Gebo, an Ethiopian peacekeeper with the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), is killed by a stray bullet suspected to have come from outside a United Nations camp in Sudan’s Abyei region.

10 July — Two Chinese peacekeepers — Li Lei and Yang Shupeng, with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) — are killed during fighting between the Government troops of President Salva Kiir and forces loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar, in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

7 August — Djimadoun Nguelebaye, a Chadian peacekeeper with MINUSMA, is killed when his vehicle hits an improvised explosive device while escorting a convoy on the Aguel Hok-Anefis Axis, some 11 kilometres from Aguelhok.

3 October — One Chadian peacekeeper with MINUSMA, Kerim Arme Hamid, is killed and eight others are injured in four different attacks targeting MINUSMA personnel and installations in Aguelhok, Kidal region, Mali.

6 November — Essonani Beguedou, a Togolese peacekeeper with MINUSMA is killed and seven others are injured in an attack north of Douentza, Mopti region, Mali.

19 December — Moalosi Albert Mokhothu, a South African peacekeeper with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is killed in Butembo, North Kivu, during an exchange of fire with suspected combatants of a Mayi Mayi armed group. Two other peacekeepers from South Africa are injured.

Not included in the list of 32 fatalities are two staff members of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Yaser Mahmoud Shuaeeb died on 17 July, when shrapnel fragments hit his back as he was getting off a bus on his way home to Aleppo. And on 14 November, reports indicated that Husein Ali Muhsen and his uncle were killed in the south-west of rural Damascus, in an air strike near the Palestinian refugee camp of Khan Eshieh. These two incidents were not deliberate attacks on United Nations staff members, but deaths arising from working in conflict zones.

Other United Nations personnel paid with their lives while serving the Organization in 2016 due to accidents, critical security incidents and other causes.

Staff members also continued to be subjected to detention or “disappearance”. According to the latest report of the Secretary-General (document S/2016/873), 27 United Nations staff members — 25 from UNRWA, 1 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and 1 from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) — were detained or missing in Syria as of 30 September 2016.

For information media. Not an official record.