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22 UN peacekeepers killed in 2006

The Democratic Republic of Congo, where nine peacekeepers dies, and Lebanon, where six are killed, is the year's deadliest assignments.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2007 03:59 IST

Attacks on UN peacekeepers and civilian staff claimed 22 lives in 2006, down from 32 in 2005 but more than the 19 killed in 2004, the UN Staff Union reported on Tuesday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, where nine peacekeepers died, and Lebanon, where six UN soldiers or staffers were killed, was the year's deadliest assignments, the Staff Union said.

In the single deadliest incident of 2006, eight Guatemalan special forces soldiers were killed in a botched January 23 raid in a Congo jungle meant to capture Vincent Otti, the No. 2 leader of Uganda's notorious Lord's Resistance Army.

Two UN inquiries into their deaths reached conflicting conclusions on whether the eight were gunned down by LRA rebels or killed by friendly fire in the heat of battle.

In the ninth Congo death, a Nepalese peacekeeper was killed in a firefight with a rebel group in the eastern Ituri region.

Killed in Lebanon were four military observers whose outpost was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, a civilian staffer whose Tyre residence was hit by an Israeli rocket and an employee of the UN Relief and Works Agency who died in an Israeli strike on a refugee camp near the town of Saida.

Haiti had four deaths from two attacks on UN peacekeepers during the year, each killing two Jordanian peacekeepers.

In the other fatal incidents of 2006, two employees of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees were killed in a nighttime attack on a UNHCR compound in Yei in southern Sudan, and an Afghan driver working for the UN Children's Fund UNICEF was killed by a rocket-propelled grenade in western Afghanistan.

In each case, it is up to the UN member-state where an attack occurred to track down and prosecutes those responsible.

But rarely are perpetrators ever brought to justice, said Staff Union President Stephen Kisambira.