June 26, 2018 (JUBA) – The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres on Tuesday condemned the killing of a peacekeeper from Bangladesh, who was supporting the delivery of humanitarian aid to vulnerable civilians in war-torn South Sudan.
- UN peacekeepers from Bangladesh work in Juba, Sudan (Reuters).
In a brief statement released, the UN chief offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved family and to the government of Bangladesh.
“The Secretary-General recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime,” stressed the statement, adding that the UN chief reaffirmed his “unwavering support to the brave men and women serving in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in their efforts to protect civilians and stabilize South Sudan,” it noted.
UNMISS named the fallen “blue helmet” as Military Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Commander Ashraf Siddiqui, who was part of a convoy being led by Nepalese peacekeepers, providing protection to humanitarians who were travelling from Yei to Lasu.
Several shots were fired at their vehicles by unknown gunmen, said the statement, and the peacekeeper “was hit and died from his injuries shortly afterwards”, said the UNMISS Spokesperson.
“It is a tragedy that he lost his life in such an appalling act of violence, while working to help those in need and to protect the lives of others”, said the UN Special Representative and head of UNMISS, David Shearer.
“Peacekeepers and aid workers should be able to carry out their work freely and safely and not be subjected to the kind of senseless attack we have witnessed today,” he added.
South Sudan has been experiencing a civil war since December 2013. Tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions more uprooted or pushed to the brink of starvation in a conflict characterised by mass rape and the killing of civilians.
Since 2011, UNMISS has reportedly lost 56 personnel deployed in the young nation.