8 U.N. Afghan staffers reported killed

April 1, 2011 at 1:35 PM

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 1 (UPI) -- A demonstration at a U.N. compound in Afghanistan turned deadly Friday with at least eight staff members killed, a police official said.

The number of casualties was unclear, The Guardian reported. One police official said the total number of U.N. employees dead was eight but other officials provided different numbers.

U.N. officials ordered all staff members in Afghanistan to remain in locked compounds Friday.

The BBC said the protest started peacefully, but a breakaway group attacked the compound. Five of the dead were reported to be security guards from Nepal.

The demonstration was called to protest the burning of a Koran in Florida March 21. Terry Jones, the pastor who threatened to burn the Muslim holy book last year, reportedly witnessed the action although he did not participate directly.

The violence raises questions about plans to transfer Mazar-e-Sharif from the control of NATO forces to Afghan troops. President Hamid Karzai said last week the area would be one of the first in the country to come under Afghan control.

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