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UN seeks help to free abducted Fijian peacekeepers

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Update: 12:40PM THE UN Security Council has called on "countries with influence" to press al-Qaeda-linked insurgents to release 45 UN peacekeepers from Fiji abducted last week in the Golan Heights.

A press statement approved by all 15 council members after a briefing by UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous again demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the Fijian peacekeepers.

Heavy clashes have raged in the Golan Heights since Syrian rebels captured a border crossing between Syria and Israel near the abandoned town of Quneitra last Wednesday. 

Fighters from al-Qaeda's Syria branch, the Nusra Front, abducted the Fijian peacekeepers and surrounded two Filipino contingents serving in the UN force known as UNDOF the following day. The Security Council welcomed the news that all the Filipinos were safe and commended the UN peacekeeping mission's quick reaction force for its assistance. Ladsous told reporters the peacekeepers have shown 'steadfastness and courage' and said the UN is working to obtain the swift and unconditional release of the Fijians.

"We are sparing no effort to obtain the release of the detained peacekeepers," he said, but gave no details stressing the importance of 'discretion'.

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