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34 U.N. workers killed in 'malicious attacks' in 2018

By Danielle Haynes
34 U.N. workers killed in 'malicious attacks' in 2018
The United Nations said peacekeeper and associated personnel deaths in 2018 were half the number recorded in 2017. File Photo by Sylvain Liechti/MONUSCO

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- At least 34 U.N. workers and associated personnel died in malicious attacks in 2018, less than half the number killed in 2017, a U.N. report released Friday said.

The Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service of the United Nations Staff Union report said 26 peacekeepers and eight civilians died in attacks in the line of duty in 2018.

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Of the peacekeepers who died last year, six each were from Bangladesh and Malawi. The others were from Burkina Faso (3), Burundi (2), Chad (2), Mauritania (2), Tanzania (2), Niger (1), Pakistan (1) and Rwanda (1). The civilians were from Afghanistan, Nigeria and the Central African Republic.

The greatest loss of peacekeeper life was in the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, at 11. It was the fifth year in a row MINUSMA had the most deaths. Eight were involved in the U.N. Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and seven were members of the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic.

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"United Nations staff work in some of the world's most dangerous places," said Bibi Sherifa Khan, president of the U.N. Staff Union.

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"Any cut in the budget of peacekeeping operations increases the dangers for staff members and risk jeopardizing the goals and objectives of the organization. When the United Nations sends its staff to work in conflict zones, it must ensure, along with member states, that the necessary resources are provided and that those who attack our colleagues are brought to justice."

The 2018 figure is among the lowest yearly death tolls over the past several years, with 71 in 2017, 32 in 2016, 51 in 2015, 61 in 2014, 58 in 2013 and 37 in 2012.

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Earlier this month, two separate attacks -- one on Jan. 21 and another on Jan. 26 -- in Mali killed 12 U.N. peacekeepers.

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