UNITED NATIONS: The UN declared on Monday that a Pakistani peacekeeper serving with the U.N. Interim Security Force for Abyei, a region disputed by South Sudan and Sudan, had died on Sunday while performing his duty to protect civilians amidst intercommunal violence there. The UN also cautioned all parties that attacking “Blue Helmets” would be considered a war crime.
According to the statement, the ongoing fighting in the Abyei administrative district claimed the life of a Ghanaian peacekeeper on Saturday as well. In a statement readout provided by his spokesman Stephane Dujarric, the Secretary-General expressed his deep concern over the violence that took place in the Abyei Administrative Area over the weekend. Two peacekeepers lost their lives while carrying out their duty, and many civilians tragically died as a result of the attacks on the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA).
According to the statement: “The governments and people of Ghana and Pakistan, as well as the family of the killed civilians, have my deepest sympathies. It continued: “The Secretary-General denounces the violence and attacks against UNISFA and calls on the Governments of South Sudan and Sudan to promptly investigate the attacks, with UNISFA’s assistance, and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
According to a news release from the organisation, anyone who is in immediate danger is welcome to seek refuge in any of UNISFA’s camps. A Pakistani peacekeeper was killed and four uniformed soldiers and one local citizen were injured yesterday as peacekeepers were receiving heavy fire while escorting impacted people from a UNISFA base to a hospital.
“UNISFA is working with local authorities to confirm the exact number of people who have died, been injured, and had to be evacuated. Sixty-four people are thought to have sustained major injuries, and fifty-two civilian deaths have been reported as of right now.
“The Mission is calling for a prompt investigation so that those responsible can be held accountable and is making every effort to restore calm, including protecting civilians proactively and robustly,” the press release went on to say.