UN leader 'outraged' by peacekeeper killings in I. Coast

Posted at 06/09/12 8:35 AM

UNITED NATIONS - UN leader Ban Ki-moon said Friday he was "outraged" by the killing of seven Niger peacekeepers in Ivory Coast, and that more UN troops remained in danger.

The peacekeepers were ambushed as they patrolled between two villages that were under risk of attack in a remote district of western Ivory Coast, according to a UN source in the West African country.

"I understand that their colleagues are still in danger," Ban told reporters.

"Even tonight, after the attack, more than 40 peacekeepers remain with the villagers in this remote region to protect them from this armed group."

He added: "My thoughts are with these brave peacekeepers and the community they are protecting."

Ban said he was "saddened and outraged" at the killings. "These brave soldiers died in the service of peace. I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms."

"I call on the government of Cote d'Ivoire to do its utmost to identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable for this deadly attack," the UN leader said using the French name for Ivory Coast.

The UN mission in Ivory Coast, UNOCI, has about 11,000 troops, military observers and police. Up to Friday, 60 troops, 15 police, one military observer and 14 international and local civilian staff have been killed.

Thirty-seven UN soldiers and other peacekeeping staff have now been killed in operations around the world in 2012, according to UN peacekeeping department figures.

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