Ban Ki-moon condemns 'shocking murder' of UN officer in Iraq

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a meeting with Canada's Governor General David Johnston (not pictured) at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Canada, February 12, 2016. — Reuters pic
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during a meeting with Canada's Governor General David Johnston (not pictured) at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Canada, February 12, 2016. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Feb 17 — United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday condemned the “shocking murder” of Amer al-Kaissy, an Iraqi national who served as liaison officer for the United Nations Mission in Iraq in Diyala, east Iraq, and called on “Iraqi authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are held accountable.”    

Al-Kaissy, a local UN staff member, was abducted from the eastern province of Diyala last April by unidentified persons, and his murder was verified on Monday, reports China’s Xinhua news agency citing a statement issued here by Ban’s spokesman.

The secretary-general also conveyed his heartfelt condolences to al-Kaissy’s family and friends.

The body of al-Kaissy was found in November “bearing signs of execution by gunshot” and was buried, unidentified, by local officials, a separate UN statement said Yesterday, adding that friends and colleagues of al-Kaissy identified the body this week.

In December, 26 Qatari hunters were abducted from a remote desert area in southern Iraq by unidentified gunmen driving SUVs. Following the incident, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it has contacted “Iraqi government and concerned entities at the highest security and political levels” to ascertain details of what happened and to try to secure the hunters’ release.

The hunters haven’t been heard from since.

In September, 18 Turkish workers were kidnapped in Baghdad’s Shiite-dominated Sadr City. A video from a previously unknown militant group showed the hostages and demanded that Turkey halt the flow of militants into Iraq, stop the passage of oil from Iraq’s northern Kurdish region into Turkish territory and lift what was described as a “siege” on Syrian cities. All the workers were released within a month.

While kidnappings for ransom are common across Iraq, large-scale abductions of foreigners are a relatively recent phenomenon. Before the Americans were snatched last month, the last time a US citizen was kidnapped in Iraq was in 2010. The scale and sophistication of the recent kidnappings of foreigners suggests those responsible are operating with some degree of impunity. — Bernama

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