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Attack By Liberian Contractors Condemned By UN

Attack by Liberian contractors condemned by UN mission

11 March 2008 - The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has condemned today's early morning attack on its personnel and vehicles close to its logistics headquarters in the capital, Monrovia, that forced at least three staff to seek medical attention.

Between 16 and 20 individuals, believed to be former individual contractors with the mission angry over a change to its maintenance contract, burned two jeeps and damaged a third vehicle at Star Base on Bushrod Island, Monrovia, about 6:30 a.m., UNMIL said in a statement.

Liberia National Police, backed by UNMIL military and formed police units (FPUs), responded and brought the situation under control, arresting 17 people in the process. But three UNMIL personnel received injuries and had to receive medical attention at the mission facility at Star Base.

The mission condemned "in the strongest terms" the acts of violence against UN staff and the destruction of UN personnel and said it would take all necessary security measures across the country to prevent a recurrence of this morning's attack.

"UNMIL personnel are in Liberia to support the people and Government of Liberia, and these acts constrain the ability of the UN to carry out its mandate," the mission statement said.

In a statement last month, UNMIL said it had taken steps to ensure that all qualified and high-performing contractors are given the opportunity to be interviewed and considered for jobs with the private Liberian company that has taken over their maintenance responsibilities.

That company has reported that 24 of 98 individual contractors based in Monrovia have been hired, as well as 114 of 128 contractors based outside the capital. Of the 226 contractors affected by the new maintenance contract, as of today only nine have not picked up their final pay.

The mission, which stressed that its recruitment and employment procedures are in line with UN rules, regulations, directives, standards and codes of conduct, also said that those affected contractors with the necessary qualifications and experience would be considered favourably for any future jobs with UNMIL.

ENDS

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