MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Wednesday, May 8 condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the abduction of 4 United Nations (UN) peacekeepers in Golan Heights, Syria and calls for their immediate and safe release.
In a statement, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesman Raul Hernandez said that “the Philippines underscores that the apprehension and illegal detention of peacekeepers are gross violations of international law.”
Hernandez also said that the government is calling on the Security Council to exert all efforts and use its influence for the early and safe release of the Filipino peacekeepers and ensure that the freedom of movement and safety and security of peacekeepers in all UN peacekeeping missions are observed.
Hernandez disclosed that DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario talked to Undersecretary Herve Landsous of the United Nation Peacekeeping Operation on Tuesday, May 7, to coordinate efforts for the early and safe release of the Filipino peacekeepers.
Undersecretary Landsaous confirmed that the 4 Filipino peacekeepers were abducted and were brought towards Jamla area in Syria. Landsous also said that the United Nations has been exerting efforts to contact and negotiate for the immediate release of the Filipinos.
The United Nations reported on Tuesday, May 7, that an armed group abducted 4 UN peacekeepers from the Philippines in the Golan Heights that has been hit by mounting spillover from the Syrian civil war.
In a posting on their Facebook page, the “Yarmuk Martyrs Brigade” rebel group claimed they had taken the 4 peacekeepers for their own safety because of fierce fighting in the area. – with reports from Ace Tamayo/Rappler.com