By The Inspirer staff
Eight of our peacekeepers were killed in the line of duty as most of them were trying to prevent an attack on the town of Beni in the Democratic Republic of Congo and create a safe environment for those working to end the Ebola outbreak there, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres has said.
Guterres was delivering his remarks on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, at the UN Security Council open debate on “Peace and Security in Africa: Strengthening Peacekeeping Operations in Africa.”
All of the deceased peacekeepers were from African countries – Malawi and Tanzania, according to the UN Chief.
“I send my deepest condolences to their families, and to the families of all peacekeepers killed in the line of duty,” he said as he sympathised with the bereaved.
“Peacekeeping is a remarkable exercise in global solidarity. United Nations peacekeepers are ready to pay the ultimate price for peace, and we are all in their debt,” he said as he requesting all the assembly to stand and observe a moment of silence for the fallen UN armed forces.
The African continent hosts seven of the fourteen UN peacekeeping missions and more than 80 per cent of the UN’s peacekeepers, Guterress said adding that African countries provide nearly half of United Nations Blue Helmets deployed around the world, including almost two-thirds of all women peacekeepers, and the majority of UN police officers.
However, he voiced concerns that peacekeeping in Africa continues to present some of the world’s greatest challenges. United Nations missions, he said, are carrying out complex operations with multidimensional mandates in extremely dangerous environments, citing transnational crime, non-state armed groups and terrorist groups pose serious challenges, sometimes targeting our peacekeepers directly.
Against this backdrop, he said, the partnership with the African Union and African Member States is vital to the collective efforts for peace, and that they must continue working to strengthen it.
“In our interconnected age, security challenges on one continent present a risk to the whole world. The factors that drive conflict in Africa – including poverty, youth unemployment, climate change, competition for resources, and transnational crime – threaten global security,” he stated.
“Improving the impact and effectiveness of peacekeeping in Africa is a collective responsibility.
We will continue to tackle it with our African partners, across the continent and around the world.
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