Deadly malicious attacks continue in 2022 against United Nations peacekeeping and associated personnel
20 January 2023
- At least 32 Killed in 2022 according to United Nations Staff Union
- Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo prove deadly for peacekeepers
- Abductions, detentions and expulsions of United Nations personnel continued
- Legal consequences needed says United Nations Staff Union President
At least 32 United Nations peacekeeping personnel—28 military and 4 police, including 1 woman police officer—were killed in deliberate attacks in 2022, the United Nations Staff Union said today.
For the ninth year in a row, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was the deadliest for peacekeepers with 14 fatalities, followed by 13 fatalities in the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), 4 fatalities in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and 1 fatality in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)
“Peacekeepers and the civilian personnel who work side by side with them are on the front lines of the United Nations work in the world’s most challenging environments. We honor the memory of our 32 colleagues whose lives were taken in 2022,” said the United Nations Staff Union President, Aitor Arauz. “Each malicious attack against UN personnel is a blow to peacekeeping, one of the pillars of the multilateral edifice. It is a collective responsibility of the international community to put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure accountability for these heinous acts, which may constitute war crimes under international law. To this end, we were encouraged by the launch in 2022 of the Group of Friends to promote accountability for crimes against peacekeepers. We look forward to seeing Member States’ strong commitment on this issue lead to tangible outcomes on the ground”.
By nationality, the peacekeepers who died in 2022 were from Bangladesh (3), Chad (4), Egypt (7), Guinea (1), India (2), Ireland (1), Jordan (1), Morocco (1), Nepal (1), Nigeria (2), Pakistan (7), Russian Federation (1) and Serbia (1).
This brings the death toll to at least 494 United Nations and associated personnel who were killed in deliberate attacks in the past 12 years from improvised explosive devices, rocket-propelled grenades, artillery fire, mortar rounds, landmines, armed and successive ambushes, convoy attacks, suicide attacks and targeted assassinations.
The figures for preceding years are as follows: 2021 (25 killed); 2020 (15 killed); 2019 (28 killed); 2018 (34 killed); 2017 (71 killed); 2016 (32 killed); 2015 (51 killed); 2014 (61 killed); 2013 (58 killed); 2012 (37 killed); 2011 (35 killed); and 2010 (15 killed).
Deliberate Attacks Resulting in Death
Following is a non-exhaustive list of deliberate attacks in 2022 which resulted in the death of United Nations and associated personnel, compiled by the United Nations Staff Union Standing Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service.
On 7 March 2022, Samir Ahmed Moataz and Mohammed Sobhy Bassiouni, two peacekeepers from Egypt serving with MINUSMA, were killed and four seriously injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack against a United Nations logistics convoy in the region of Mopti, in central Mali.
On 15 March 2022, the vehicle of Elsayed Moussa Abdelgawad Sameh, a peacekeeper from Egypt serving with MINUSMA, hit an IED 12 kilometres from the MINUSMA camp while he was overseeing a logistics convoy between Gao and Tessalit. He and three of his men were seriously injured. Mr. Sameh passed away two days later, on 17 March, during his evacuation to Dakar for further treatment.
On 29 March 2022, Muhammad Ismail, Faizan Ali, Asif Ali Awan, Samiullah Khan, Muhammad Saad Nomani, Muhammad Jamil Khan, six peacekeepers from Pakistan; Aleksei Miziura, a peacekeeper from the Russian Federation; and Dejan Stanojevic, a peacekeeper from Serbia, all of them serving with MONUSCO, lost their lives in a helicopter crash in the east of the country. The MONUSCO helicopter that crashed in the Tshanzu area, 20 km south of Rutshuru, in North Kivu, was part of a surveillance and reconnaissance mission, carried out in an area where clashes had taken place between the M23 militia and the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On 5 April 2022, Anil Gurung, a peacekeeper from Nepal serving with MONUSCO, was killed in an attack in Bali, Djugu territory, Ituri province, by suspected militia members of the Coopérative pour le développement du Congo (CODECO).
On 1 June 2022, Ali Aljawabrah Jumah Ali, a peacekeeper from Jordan serving with MINUSMA, was killed and three others wounded in an attack against a United Nations logistics convoy near the town of Kidal in northern Mali. For roughly an hour, the convoy came under fire from suspected members of a terrorist group using small arms and rocket launchers.
On 3 June 2022, Baheer Abdelgalil Abdelaziz Sherif and Elsayed Ibrahim Ahmed Mohamed, two peacekeepers from Egypt serving with MINUSMA, were killed and another peacekeeper injured in an IED/mine attack against a United Nations convoy approximately 46 km north of Douentza, central Mali.
On 19 June 2022, Haba Emmanuel Jean, a peacekeeper from Guinea serving with MINUSMA, died in Kidal after being seriously injured by an IED explosion while carrying out a mine detection search operation.
On 5 July 2022, Hamza Ali Ahmed Elsayed and Sayed Sawy Mohamed Shawky, two peacekeepers from Egypt serving with MINUSMA, were killed and nine others injured when their armoured vehicle hit a mine approximately 62 km north-east of Gao, in northern Mali.
On 26 July 2022, Sanwalaram Vishnoi and Shishupal Singh, two police officers from India, and Azzouz Znaidi, a peacekeeper from Morocco, all three serving with MONUSCO, were killed and a police officer from Egypt injured when violent protesters targeted the MONUSCO base in Butembo, North Kiwu. The demonstrators called on the Force to do more to protect communities from the many armed groups that roam the mineral-rich east.
On 30 September 2022, Babar Siddique, a peacekeeper from Pakistan serving with MONUSCO, was killed in an attack on the Mission’s operational base in Minembwe, South Kivu, by suspected members of the Twirwaneho armed group.
On 3 October 2022, Mohammad Sharif Hossain, Mohammad Jahangir Alam and Mohammad Jasim Uddin, three peacekeepers from Bangladesh serving with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), were killed following a roadside bomb explosion near the border with Cameroon. The peacekeepers were on a night patrol, near the village of Kaita, when their vehicle detonated an explosive device.
On 17 October 2022, Dady Barkai Abakar, Brahim Toubaye Ali and Hisseine Hassan Mahamoud, three peacekeepers from Chad serving with MINUSMA, were killed and three wounded in an IED attack against a MINUSMA patrol near Tessalit, Kidal region, Mali. The peacekeepers were on a mine search and detection patrol.
On 18 October 2022, Ahmat Moukour Sabour, a peacekeeper from Chad serving with MINUSCA, succumbed to his injuries from the IED attack sustained on 17 October near Tessalit, Kidal region, Mali.
On 15 December 2022– Seán Cormac Rooney, a peacekeeper from Ireland serving with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), was shot and killed while on patrol in Al-Aqbieh, just outside the UNIFIL area of operations in south Lebanon. Three other peacekeepers were injured.
On 16 December 2022, Nasiru Bawa and Saratu Haruna, a male and a female police officer, respectively, from Nigeria serving with MINUSMA, were killed when unidentified armed men opened fire on a United Nations Police patrol in Timbuktu town. Four other peacekeepers were injured, one of them seriously.
On 4 January 2022, peacekeepers with UNIFIL on their way to meet Lebanese Armed Forces for a routine patrol were attacked at night by unknown perpetrators, their United Nations vehicles vandalized and official items stolen.
On 27 January 2022, the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia was the target of an attack, when three vehicles that were part of a joint expedition heading to the rural area of Guayabero to meet with local communities were approached by armed individuals, who made the United Nations personnel step out of the vehicles. Two of the three vehicles were incinerated a few minutes later. Nobody was injured. The attack on the joint mission, also comprising the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and a non-governmental organization, took place in San José de Guaviare.
On 30 January 2022, Cristofer José Citan Ramos of Guatemala was the military point person during a MONUSCO patrol when it came under attack by the CODECO armed group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the assault, he was shot and wounded. Despite his injury, Mr. Ramos continued to return fire to deter the combatants and protect his colleagues. Secretary-General António Guterres awarded him a Letter of commendation on 26 May, the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
On 11 February 2022, five United Nations staff members were abducted by suspected Al-Qaida militants in Abyan governorate, southern Yemen, while returning to Aden after a field mission. On 3 September, Al-Qaida released a video showing one of the staff members.
The Independence of the International Civil Service Continued to be Threatened
On 21 February 2022, four members of MINUSCA were arrested by the Central African Republic gendarmerie in Bangui while escorting a senior military officer of the Mission.
On 20 July 2022, MINUSMA was informed of the decision of the Government of Mali ‘inviting’ the Mission’s spokesperson to leave the country within seventy-two hours. According to media reports, the spokesperson was accused of having posted “unacceptable information” on Twitter the day after the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers in Bamako, capital of Mali, on 10 July 2022.
On 3 August 2022, the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo expelled the spokesperson of MONUSCO. According to media reports, the spokesperson, in a 13 July 2022 interview on the sidelines of the weekly MONUSCO press conference in Kinshasa, said that the deployment of a large part of the resources of the Mission and the army of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the fight against M23 rebels had “negative implications” on other regions where other armed groups operated.
Finally, on 29 January 2022 a military court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo sentenced 51 people to death for the killing of Zaida Catalán and Michael Sharp, members of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and their local interpreter, Betu Tshintela. Ms. Catalán, of Sweden, and Mr. Sharp, of the United States, were investigating reports of mass atrocities in the Kasai region surrounding fighting between Government forces and armed militia, when they were abducted on 12 March 2017. Their bodies were found by United Nations peacekeepers two weeks later outside the city of Kananga. The verdict, which might be appealed, resulted in the conviction of Colonel Jean de Dieu Mambweni, Thomas Nkashama, Jean Bosco Mukanda and others associated with them. Noting that there was a de facto moratorium on the imposition of the death penalty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations urged the country’s authorities to maintain the moratorium on the death penalty and to consider abolishing it in law.
For further information, please contact Vikram Sura at email@example.com, United Nations Staff Union Standing Committee for the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service.