UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in his message on the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers has said that last year 173 peacekeepers lost their lives due to natural disasters, violence, accidents and disease.
The tragedies that have befallen on the United Nations peacekeepers this year are a sobering reminder of the risks entailed in their important work for peace, UN Secretary-General said.
"As we mark the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on May 29, we pay tribute to more than 120,000 military, police and civilians serving worldwide under the blue flag and remember those who lost their lives in the cause of peace," he said.
In recent months, the United Nations has suffered a series of tragedies in rapid succession, he said adding that in early April seven personnel were murdered in an attack on a UN compound in Afghanistan, according to the UN Information Center's (UNIC) press release.
Just a few days later, 32 lives, many of them UN staff, were lost in the crash of a plane serving the United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it said.
These incidents added to others involving fatalities around the world, and followed the painful events of last year, when 173 peacekeepers lost their lives due to natural disasters, violence, accidents and disease, including more than 100 in the single, terrible blow of the January earthquake in Haiti.