Eight Ivory Coast civilians and seven U.N. peacekeepers from Niger were killed in an ambush in a remote area of southwestern Ivory Coast while trying to protect civilians threatened by attack.
Gunmen who killed seven United Nations peacekeepers, eight civilians and at least one soldier in Ivory Coast came from neighbouring Liberia, the Ivorian defence minister said on Saturday.
Paul Koffi Koffi said the raid on Friday afternoon highlighted the need for Ivorian troops to carry out cross-border operations in Liberia to improve security, according to Reuters.
On Monday the government will begin to hunt for the perpetrators of the ambush that targeted the U.N. troops.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he was "outraged" by the deaths.
The attack highlights simmering tensions and security threats in the west of the world's top cocoa grower, despite progress since months of post-election violence last year.
Paul Koffi Koffi, the Ivorian defense minister, said the raid, on Friday afternoon, highlighted the need for Ivorian troops to carry out cross-border operations in Liberia to improve security.
There was no immediate comment from Liberia but the U.N. said it was reshuffling some of its several thousand troops deployed in the zone as a result of the incident, according to a report in The Telegraph.
The Ivory Coast War began in 2002, but conflicts have continued as the country has not been able to stabilize. The Ivorian elections took place in October 2010 after being delayed six times. Fighting resumed on the 24 February 2011 over the impasse on the election results, with the New Force rebels.
United Nations peacekeeping mission
Despite the criticisms of the U.N., it is ideologically diverse although much of it is focused on the U.N.'s purported inability to handle international conflicts, even on a small scale. Other criticisms tend to focus on the U.N.'s alleged elitism or its presumed support of globalist philosophies. Still, their peacekeeping missions around the world support civilian populations as peacekeepers are located in some of the most dangerous conflict areas in the world.
Today, more than 110,000 uniformed and civilian personnel are serving in 20 peace operations managed by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO). Since 1948, 63 peacekeeping operations have been deployed by the U.N., 17 of them in the past decade alone. Over the years hundreds of thousands of military personnel, as well as tens of thousands of U.N. police and other civilians, from more than 120 countries have participated in U.N. operations.
Peacekeeping has proven to be one of the most effective tools available to the U.N. to assist host countries navigate the difficult path from conflict to peace.
Peacekeeping has unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy and sustain troops and police from around the globe, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to advance multidimensional mandates.
U.N. peacekeepers provide security and the political and peace building support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.
U.N. peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:
Today's multidimensional peacekeeping operations are called upon not only to maintain peace and security, but also to facilitate the political process, protect civilians, assist in the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants; support the organization of elections, protect and promote human rights and assist in restoring the rule of law.
Success is never guaranteed, because U.N. peacekeeping almost by definition goes to the most physically and politically difficult environments. The U.N. has built up a demonstrable record of success over our 60 years of existence.
The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) is dedicated to assisting the Member States and the Secretary-General in their efforts to maintain international peace and security.
There are currently 17 peace keeping missions around the world.
Asia and the Pacific
More than 2,400 United Nations peacekeepers from some 118 countries died while serving under the U.N. flag during the past 60 years. And today’s killings are added to the total.
The U.N. role can be even more critical operating under the auspices of continuing to find and create collective and effective answers to global challenges and threats. Their missions are dangerous, but they continue to go into the most dangerous conflict areas to protect and assist citizens.