The bodies of the United Nations Senegalese soldiers who were killed in clashes with guerrillas last week, have been flown home.
The bodies of the United Nations Senegalese soldiers who were killed in clashes with guerrillas last week, have been flown home. After the clashes that lead to their deaths and those of three French soldiers, the commander of United Nations troops in Lebanon, Major General Erskine, has stressed that the essential reason for the United Nations presence in the south, was to maintain peace and prevent violent confrontations.
SYNOPSIS: Later, General Erskine and a high ranking French officer visited a Beirut hospital to check the condition of a French U.N. officer wounded in the recent clashes. At one stage Colonel Salvan had been reported dead after an engagement between French troops and guerrillas. But that was later retracted when he was found wounded in both legs and rushed to hospital. There he has called on his men to maintain peace and not seek revenge.
The atmosphere at Beirut international airport was sombre as military honours were paid to the Senegalese who died last week.
Senegal's ambassador to the Lebanon and other embassy officials were in attendance as the coffins were loaded on to an aircraft for he journey home. The men who had only been in the peace keeping zone a few days were killed in two separate mine explosions. Their deaths, have been condemned by Yasser Arafat, the leader of Fatah, the main Palestinian guerrilla group. And he has attacked the radical left-wing elements who claimed responsibility for the clashes. The criticism follows his meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Dr Kurt Waldheim last month, during which he promised Palestinian cooperation with U.N. peace-keeping troops after the Israelis withdrew. Those troops are now reported to be on full alert in the south, and the Security council has approved a proposal to increase their strength to 6,000 men.