44 detained UN peacekeepers safe: UN
Posted on Aug 30 2014 | IANS
United Nations, Aug 30 : The 44 UN peacekeepers detained Thursday by militants in the Golan Heights are "safe and in good health", a UN spokesman said late Friday.
"The United Nations has received assurances from credible sources that the 44 peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), who were detained Thursday morning, are safe and in good health," Xinhua quoted the spokesperson as saying in an emailed note to the press.
"UNDOF has not yet had direct contact with these peacekeepers," he said.
The peacekeepers from the UN agency, who are all from Fiji, were detained by armed elements of the Syrian opposition amid fighting in the area between Syrian government forces and armed groups.
UNDOF peacekeepers were previously detained by armed elements in March and May of 2013 and were released safely.
Peacekeepers were serving with the UNDOF to monitor the 1974 disengagement accord between Syria and Israel.
As of July 31, 2014, there were 1,223 peacekeepers from six countries -- Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, Netherlands and Philippines -- serving in the UN agency.