Two UN Nigerian fallen peacekeepers killed in Mali will be transported to their country after a memorial service by UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
Mr Benjamin Olafaju, Head of Chancery at the Nigeria Permanent Mission to the UN told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that their bodies would be transported to Nigeria after the ceremony.
The memorial will be held at Parade Ground, MINUSMA headquarters, Bamako at 10.00am on Friday.
Similarly, UN Spokesperson, Mr Stéphane Dujarric confirmed to NAN that the remains of the fallen peacekeepers would be received by the Nigerian Government after the ceremony.
“They will… soon after the memorial ceremony, they will be transported back to their home country, and then it will be up to the Nigerian military and the Nigerian Government to decide on the burial,’’ he said.
Earlier in a statement, through Dujarric, Secretary-General António Guterres condemned an attack against a UN police patrol in northern Mali that claimed the lives of two Nigerian peacekeepers on Dec. 16.
Dujarric said that in addition to the deaths of the male and female peacekeepers in Timbuktu town earlier in the day, four other blue helmets from MINUSMA were injured.
Attacks targeting UN peacekeepers “may constitute war crimes” under international law, the statement continued.
The UN chief called on the Malian authorities to “spare no effort in identifying and swiftly bringing the perpetrators of these heinous attacks to justice”.
He offered his deepest condolences to the bereaved families, the Government, and people of Nigeria and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
“The Secretary-General reiterates the United Nations continued support to, and solidarity with, the people of Mali,” Dujarric said.
At the same time, the Security Council issued a statement condemning the attack “in the strongest terms” and paid tribute to “all peacekeepers who risk their lives”.
They called on the Transitional Government of Mali to “swiftly investigate” the attack with the support of MINUSMA and promote accountability by bringing the perpetrators to justice.
The ambassadors reminded Mali officials to keep the relevant troop-contributing country informed of the progress consistent with the Security Council resolutions on the safety and security of peacekeepers (2518) and accountability for any violence against them (2589).
They underlined that involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring, or conducting attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers “constitutes a basis for sanctions”.
The responsibility of UN personnel safety rests with host States, the statement continued, highlighting the importance of communications between MINUSMA and Mali’s Transitional Government.
The Council reaffirmed that terrorism constitutes “one of the most serious threats to international peace and security”, describing it as “criminal and unjustifiable”, regardless of the motivation.
They emphasised the need to “bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice” and for all States to combat terrorism in accordance with the UN Charter and international law.
While reiterating its full support to MINUSMA and other security presences in the Sahel region, the Council expressed concern over the security situation in Mali and the transnational dimension of terrorism in the Sahel region.
They urged the Malian parties to fully implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali “without further delay”.
“Lasting peace and security in the Sahel region will not be achieved without a combination of political, security, peacebuilding and sustainable development efforts benefiting all regions of Mali, as well as the full, effective and inclusive implementation of the Agreement,” they said.
The Council further stressed the importance of MINUSMA having the necessary capacities to fulfil its mandate and promote the safety and security of the blue helmets.
These “heinous acts” will not undermine the peacekeepers determination to continue to support the peace and reconciliation process in Mali, the statement stated.
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