Al-Nusra militants move captured UN peacekeepers out of UN territory
Fiji military officials said Saturday they can no longer confirm the location of 44 captured UN peacekeepers captured by militants in Golan earlier this week, according the the AFP.
Brigadier Mosese Tikoitoga spoke to reporters Saturday on behalf of the UN team charged with negotiating the captives' release. Tikoitoga said the team had learned from militant contacts that the soldiers were safe and in good health, but had been moved out of the UN territory they were take from near the de facto Golan border between Syria and Israel to an unknown location unreachable by security forces.
The adductions occured Wednesday when heavy clashes broke out between al-Nusra-affiated militants and Syrian government forces. In addition to the troops taken hostage, another 72 peacekeeper soldiers were barracaded in the area after refusing to surrender.
Since the clashes, UN accounts have been amended from 43 to 44 captives, and from 75 to 72 additional soldiers still trapped in Golan, according to the AFP.
The Fijian and Filipino soldiers were serving as peacekeepers in the Golan Heights as part of the UN's ongoing Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOT) missions to secure a buffer zone and ensure the continuation of the 1972 peace agreement between Israel and Syria.