April 5, 2011
Five Nepali security guards deployed to the United Nations office in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan were among those tragically killed by an angry mob on Friday.
The mob reportedly beheaded two guards, seized their weapons and stormed the U.N. office killing others. The attack came after Friday prayers, where Afghan Muslims learned a fanatic Christian pastor in Florida had burned their holy scripture, the Quran.
Thirteen persons including five Nepali security guards, three U.N. workers and five demonstrators died in the assault, according to U.N. Peacekeeping Director in Afghanistan Alain Le Roy. According to the Roy, the security guards, who were Gurkhas, fought desperately and heroically to save the lives of three U.N. staff members, but were overtaken by the mob.
The Nepali embassy in Pakistan identified four of the deceased as: Min Bahadur Thapa, Chhabilal Purja Pun, Narayan Bahadur Thapa and Dil Prasad Gurung. According to a source at the UN mission, the slain Nepalis were not UN staff, but were sub-contracted by a private security company called IDG.
“A total of eight Nepali ex-armymen were guarding the UN office. …Two have been found safe and two others are still missing,” Deputy Chief of Mission of the Nepali embassy told The Himalayan Times over phone from Islamabad.
All of the slain were contracted through Universal Connection Pvt Ltd, Lalitpur, in agreement with IDG Security Company, a British owned and managed multinational contractor. Data from Migration Resources Centre shows at least 42 ex-armymen have been hired by the company and flown to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has been a foreign employment destination for Nepalis since 1999. In the interim, 4,627 Nepalis have gone there, most of them as security guards in various international missions and firms.
United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon telephoned Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal on Saturday afternoon and expressed his deep sorrow and condolence over the death of Nepali nationals. Khanal assured Ban that despite such incidents Nepal will continue supporting the peacekeeping mission of the UN.
As far as this writer is concerned, the pastor in Florida has Nepali blood on his hands and should be treated accordingly.